Last week, a Reddit thread asked gay people who are blind how they knew they were gay. Here are some of the users' submissions.
1. "I felt a strange feeling when hugging a male student."
I knew that I was very different from the other kids, and I felt horribly lonely. I didn't fit in with the kids with sight, but what was worse, I didn't fit in with the kids who were blind, either. All the boys were interested in sports and rough games. I wasn't. Some talked about girls, but because I was blind from birth, and because nobody ever talked to me about sex, I had no idea what was being discussed. I am ashamed to say that I didn't even know the difference between girls and boys, except that girls were usually nicer to me, and yet, I felt a strange feeling when hugging a male student. When I was 15 years old, a girl explained to me how babies were born. I knew that if I admitted how little I knew, I'd be laughed at, so I kept quiet. I ordered books in braille about sex, read them, and had then a vague understanding. What is surprising, and very important, is that I began to realize that I was attracted to other boys and men, and not to women. I realized that I had a strange feeling when close to people of my own sex that I did not have when I was with women. —Costco1L
2. "Voice, skin texture, pheromones."
My lesbian friend who is blind said she realized when she was 13 — every time a female nurse grabbed her to lead her through an area. Voice, skin texture, pheromones, etc. Also by hugging girls. —Hermaeus-whora
3. "It’s not all that different from how people who aren't blind know they’re gay."
I’m an actual blind person. Honestly, it’s not all that different from how people who aren't blind know they’re gay. When they think about kissing someone, say around second grade or so, they know if they want to kiss boys or girls. —AllHarlowsEve
4. "He actually went to a high school for the blind. ... That's where he fully discovered his affection for other males."
My brother was born blind and has recently come out as gay (he's 21). There's much more to sexual attraction than just visual aspects. As he explained to me, in middle school and high school he just started to notice that he was more attracted to boys than girls — their deeper voices, assertiveness, and masculine scent. He also found people who were interested in "boy" stuff like sports, guns, video games, etc. to be more interesting and attractive than people who were into the stereotypical things females like. He actually went to a high school for the blind and was on the wrestling team there (yes, there is such a thing) his junior and senior years. As funny as it sounds, that's where he fully discovered his affection for other males — once he became physical with them on the wrestling mat. —Holden_Caulfiend
5. "I heard the voices of guys, and they sounded attractive to me."
Honestly, the same way as a normal person. I heard the voices of guys, and they just sounded attractive to me. Even though I can't see them physically, mentally I can picture how they look. I wasn't blind until I was 14, but I realized I was gay when I was 18. —commanderzilyana
6. "When I was 11 or 12, I didn't really understand the difference between boys and girls."
"When I was 11 or 12, I didn't really understand the difference between boys and girls. To me, they were the same except that men turned me on and women didn't. I did not know about body parts (breasts, vagina, penis, etc.) and yet, I was attracted to my same sex." —RedzandBluez
7. "I liked the touch of a man's body and hands."
When I was legally blind, I liked the build of men and the touch of a man’s body and hands. I like muscles on a man and I liked, when I could see some, men with tans because they were easier to see. But basically, my attractions hinge on the voice, the body build and how that appears to my touch, and how well you can verbally and textually communicate. I also like taller men but that's a preference. Obviously, smell is a huge factor as well but I am not as picky about that as I am about other factors but there are certain men smells that instantly give me an erection. There are exceptions to every rule. One rule nobody can break, though, is smokers. I don't like them. Never have, never will. I hate the smell and the taste of kissing a smoker. Period. Smokers won’t get to date me if I can help it. —rkingett
8. "My cock is so fun to play with, I assume different ones would be too."
I am typing this for my friend, who is gay and blind. He said, and I quote, "My cock is so fun to play with, I assume different ones would be too!" —hypoferramia
9. "I didn't have to see a dick to know I didn't want to touch one."
I just texted my friend (we're both lesbians) — and she's legally blind. She can see shapes, shades of light and dark, but not faces and definitely not features. She said: "I didn't have to see a dick to know I didn't ever want to touch one. You mean to tell me those people didn't know what kind of genitalia they liked 'til they saw someone naked? Weird." —Anonymous
10. "Intelligence, sense of humor, system of beliefs."
The attraction part is the most interesting in the absence of sight. What you have left is their voice, scent, how they feel physically, and then other compatibility criteria such as intelligence, sense of humor, system of beliefs. —rylley20
11. "It's really not all that different."
I’ve been blind since birth and extremely gay. You know when you see someone and are attracted to them? It’s kind of like that, but I can’t see.
Responses edited for length and clarity.