Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Come On OUT!

apparently, yesterday was national coming out day. i completely missed that fact. not that i needed one specific day to come out. i did that over 10 years ago. but i wonder what is so special about october 11th that the gay community would declare that as the day to break down the walls and come out to the world as a homosexual. something to think about.

last night as i ate dinner, i sat down and watched the logo channel, the new all-gay network which has been launched by MTV. that's right, we are taking over the world. we now have our own gay television station. better monitor that parental televison block chip all you people in the red states. we are on tv 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. what next?! marriage?!?! anyway, i digress.

since it was national coming out day, they had a 30-minute special, a documentary, that followed a person around as they tell their family and loved ones that they enjoy the company of people of the same sex. the first (and possibly only) installment of this documentary followed a woman, karen, as she prepared to tell her mother who is dying from a rare brain disease that she likes the girls. karen is a 28-year-old, single mom who likes being a woman and dressing all girly-girl. she had highlights in her hair, wore big earrings and showed off her boobies. she pretty much looked like all the girls i knew in high school and college. there was one part of the show which stood out in my mind, because the ignorance that still exists in 2005 completely blows my mind. karen was in a club and getting hit on by a dude. she told him that she was gay and he could not believe it. his response was 'but you're so pretty.' now i am willing to bet that dude hears that line from girls a lot, but in this case it was true. newsflash yourselves, there are many types of us gays within the community that make up the community as a whole. it's called diversity. you have it in your world and so do we. i like things that are classified as being straight. i could name, in order, the entire yankee starting line-up. and on the flip side, i could probably recite every single line of every single episode of 'the golden girls.' again, it's called diversity and being well-rounded!!! but, again, i digress. my point being that this world is made up of all types of people. and no one should be judged by who they invite to share their bed for an evening, a few evenings or for a lifetime.

ok, digressing. karen told her sister first that she was gay. her sister smiled while throwing her arms around her. she then said, 'good for you. you finally said it out loud.' OMG, what amazing support. she then told her mother, who said that she is still the one bright spot in her life. now, i don't know if was the cameras being there or these people's true feelings, but a tiny flower broke through the concrete i have been told surrounds my heart.

fortunately for me, i had a very similiar experience. the people who i feel need to know about my true identity do and still love and support me unconditionally. but i am not stupid, i know that not everyone has the same experience i had. i know plenty of people in their mid to late 30s who are still in the closet or have been ousted by their friends and family because of who they have fallen in love with. is it any wonder why drugs, alcohol and suicide rates are so high within the community?

flashback to 10 years ago. i had just graduated high-school and knew who i was. i liked the boys. i would leave my girlfriend's house and go to my best friend's to really 'play.' he has since chosen to join the police force, stay in our hometown and lead a complete double life. i knew that was not for me. i needed to get out, go to a bigger city and discover who and what was out there. i needed to come out for me. and that's just what i did. actually, i jumped out.

away from friends and family, making new friends. i knew exactly who i was and was finally comfortable with it because the new people i encountered were comfortable with it as well. and for the first time ever, i realized that i was not the only one. i returned home for thanksgiving, having been away for only 2 months. i came out to my dad first. after the initial 'this is all my fault' passed, he threw his arms around me and said he'd known for years. i am sure that having a gay parent helped, but i honestly think it would not have mattered.

i spent the next 2 years wondering how i would now tell my mom the secret i carried with me when back at home. at this point, everyone who knew me knew who and what i was. how could i keep this from my own flesh and blood? from one of the people who gave me life? how could i tell her that there would never be a wedding? no grandchildren? i am not one of those fags who wants kids. i like my life the way it is and i like spending $ on myself and my boyfriend. the time had come. she came to visit me at school. we went out for dinner. i chain-smoked through the appetizers. and finally the words came out, and so did i. well, i started off as bi-sexual (leaving the door open for that last shred of hope) and finished the conversation as 100% gay. after her initial concern because she is a nurse, she said that all she has ever wanted for me is happiness. whew! two supportive parents. who could ask for more?

back to the present. 2005. 98% of the people in my life know the real me. the remaining 2% would be my 4 grandparents who do not know. and i have 2 reasons for that. the first being that i am not close to one set of grandparents at all. and the second reason being, what's the point? they are over 80-years-old and are of a different generation. what they don't know won't hurt them. all of my friends know. co-workers know. and in the conservative, red state i currently reside in, that is a huge deal. there are 3 other gay people in my working environment, 2 men and 1 woman. i am by far, the most out. i talk about my boyfriend, co-workers have met him. i have never hid who i am. a straight co-worker once told me that she had such high respect for me...being a 28-year-old gay male, in a highly conservative state and i am not ashamed of who i am or hide who i am. that meant a lot to me.

i look back over the past 10 years and i see the amazing strides this community has made within that time. teens are coming out in high-school. something i never thought possible. i wouldn't have done that. shows like 'will & grace' are on television and portray gay men as intellectuals who are also just looking for love. a few states are acknowledging equality and legalizing gay marriage. it's not many, but it is still a start. and gay adoption is not as hard as it once was. maybe that wedding and grandchildren are possible.

melissa etheridge once said that every gay person should have the opportunity to come out in front of a room full of people and hear nothing but applause once the words 'i'm gay' leave his or her mouth. i could not agree more. however, i would immediately turn around and applaud the people who still accepted me and felt it didn't matter because they still see me as a person first. being gay is nothing to be ashamed of. we are part of this society too and have tons to offer. i am not saying that everyone needs to accept and agree with it. just acknowledge it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"a tiny flower broke through the concrete I have been told surrounds my heart." That statement is the EXACT reason I do NOT regret taking such a potentially damaging risk... You have made me smile today... thank you for allowing a small piece of your foundation to chip away for a flower to peek through!


1:36 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home