This post is so gay.
I came out to my parents in April of 2008. It’s been what, sixteen months since that fateful day? I remember it like it was yesterday. I don’t think it is a memory that will ever fade, dull or otherwise be expunged from my mind. It’s an experience that is impossible for anyone else to understand or comprehend unless they have been through it. With the American society leaning so heavily on its traditional value system, based almost entirely on religious rhetoric, it comes as little surprise to realize that an overwhelming majority of the population view same-sex relationships in a negative light. I mean, hell… up until the mid-1970’s homosexuality was classified as a mental illness! In 2006…TWO THOUSAND AND SIX(!!!)…The Pentagon switched its policies from labeling homosexuality as a personality disorder to that of a “circumstance,” lumping it with fear of flying and bed-wetting. And don’t even get me started on the “don’t ask, don’t tell” statute. GRRRRR. That’s not what this blog is about. But, I’m just trying to paint a picture of the political and social climate in America. It’s just kind of a gay-hatin’ kind of a country.
And why? Religion. Sure, that probably isolates at least everyone that reads this. But, it’s true. Homosexuality exists in nature (nature=natural, m k?). It was generally accepted and sometimes even praised and heralded in the past. However, over time Christianity branded it as one of the cardinal sins–effectively equating it with an act that is both a conscious choice and one that is inherently wrong. As a vice? Like gambling? Ha! How is that even a logical train of thought? How is loving another person, regardless of if they are the same sex, ever on par with theft, murder, etc.? And to those that believe it’s a choice: Fuck you. Because honestly, who in their right mind would ever choose to live this kind of life? I’m sure you can imagine that it comes with its fair share of hardships.
For example, when I uttered those much dreaded and anticipated words to my mother I knew that I had effectively altered our relationship forever. And that because of my decision to open up and embrace honesty with those closest to me–my fucking family y’all–I had perhaps destroyed our close nit clan…on a permanent basis. It’s extremely terrifying to risk it all in order to live a guilt free existence. Is it selfish? Maybe in some way. But, I think that more than that it’s just wanting to get the pesky ghost off of your back. Having to cease all of the lies and deceit. Some people thrive on that type of privacy and discretion. But, that’s not me. I want my parents to be a daily part of my life. I want them to know my girlfriend. I want them to support us. I want them to hear me out when we’re having problems. I want them to play the role of the parent. And I don’t feel that’s too much to ask.
But, apparently it is. It’s not a guarantee that they will love and respect you after they learn the truth. And when you have grown up your entire twenty-two years in a household with conservative leanings, religious backgrounds, and an adamant disregard for extending civil rights for same sex couples. Then, you understand why I approached the situation delicately and with much trepidation. In other words it was scary as hell. And, luckily there had been enough signs and signals pointing to the rainbow train as a likely scenario for me that my mom (as well as other family members) had already predicted my super gayness before I had even said a thing. But, there is a huge difference between knowing for sure and suspecting. Sure, they had stumbled upon that outcome as a possibility in passing, but could until that point pawn it off as merely speculation. However, once it was official the devastation set in. I feel that my coming out conversation was not special in any way. I think my mom’s reactions were actually quite typical…questioning the permanency of my orientation, labeling it as a phase, seeking out scapegoats, struggling to determine the “cause,” followed with a physical outpouring of grief, rage, embarrassment, etc, expressing concern over my ability to flourish in modern society, and finally acceptance–on some level. But, this did not come without a great deal of pain, her feeling that she failed as a parent, her truly believing that the community would brand her with a scarlet letter by association to “someone like me”. It’s hard not only for the child, but for the parent and every other family member as well. I knew that with this revelation I might never again be invited to a Christmas dinner. That I would forever be the black sheep of the Smith family. I cried a lot back then. As I told members of my life one by one of my decision to live life as an open lesbian–I had to struggle with the knowledge in the back of my mind that I might be kissing my relationships goodbye. It was hard. But, now I realize that those worth knowing accept you for who you are and don’t give two shits about who I date. And that’s the beautiful realization I’ve discovered during this period of transformation.
Now don’t get me wrong. My parents have come a long way. But they still wholeheartedly disagree with homosexuality on a moral level (although, mom the Methodist Church is actively debating their stance on homosexuality!). They undoubtedly believes it to be a choice. And I suspect that they may be right, in a way. One can CHOOSE to ignore their underlying desires, their innate sense of attraction, in order to conform to society’s standards. They can make that choice, to forsake their own happiness to appease the masses (see Far From Heaven with Dennis Quaid and Julianne Moore) But, at what fucking cost? I wonder sometimes if those who suggest that it’s a choice really have any idea what they are saying? Because truthfully it makes no logical sense. It’s been proved time and time again that that is so very false that it’s not even worth debating anymore.
And if you ever wanted to learn a little bit about sexuality–check out the Kinsey reports. He admits that sexuality is ever-changing, ever-evolving–not a static stagnant entity. But, his findings are what have contributed to the number commonly quoted of 10% of the general population being homosexual–exclusively. These reports also state that nearly 46 percent of the male subjects studied had reacted sexually to persons of both sexes throughout their adult lives–and that 37 percent had actually engaged in a homosexual act. It should also be iterated that he viewed sexual behavior as both physical AND purely psychological–such as desire, fantasy or sexual attraction. Thus, many more of those studied could have been exclusively homosexual, but were merely submerging those innate attractions and feelings to prevent humiliation, damnation and the effective dissolution of their life as “normal” people. Mind you, these studies were undergone during the 1940’s and 50’s. And it’s become a bit more acceptable to admit these parts of ourselves. It’s a different world now, we’ve made great strides… in many ways. But, it’s not enough.
I’m no activist. I’m not going to crucify someone for making a joke about gay people or for being somewhat uncomfortable around two lay-dees makin’ out hardcore. But, I will teach you, subtly and with the utmost patience to be ok with the whole gay world. We aren’t someone to fear. We aren’t someone to be disgusted by. We are the same as you, except perhaps better as a person, because we have to wake up every day knowing that we could be discriminated against for just being who we are. It’s the same as hurling racists remarks at an African American. They are born black and it’s unacceptable to direct prejudiced hatred at them for that reason. I feel it’s similar, in a way, to chastise or aim bigotry at homosexuals. True, we haven’t been subject to endure near the same level of maltreatment as African American’s in this country. But, it’s the fact that we are hated for something that is natural and intrinsic to who we are as a person that I voice my discontent over.
It’s just that the rights that we believe to be inalienable are: life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. O rly!?
Pursuit of happiness, you say!? Hmm, well I suppose that would mean that I am able to pursue my happiness by finding love, grabbing hold of it, and enjoying the hell out of it while I am fortunate enough to do so. It is my right as a citizen of the United States, as a human being even, to seek and obtain happiness–as long as this provides no harm to anyone else. And c’mon…my falling asleep next to a woman at night hurts no one.
I know you opponents of same-sex marriage will talk to me at depth about the sanctity of that legal union. That same sex couplings are gonna RUIN DA WORLD! THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN! Oh yeah? Want me to do that? Just open a fuckin’ book and read up on some statistics. In reality any loving parents…gay or straight are ideal. If a child is provided for, loved, and raised in a way that sets them up for success than who cares if it’s two men or two women? In this day and age with poverty, domestic violence, and divorce rates–why would anyone deny caring couples the right to raise a child? Environmental factors actually have very little to do with one becoming homosexual. And if you are just concerned with the reproductive element? Holy fuck. I hope that’s anyone’s real argument–because first of all just like kittens there are far too many unwanted babies out there. And honestly if everyone stopped reproducing I think that would be for the best. Clearly we are going to kill the world forever eventually. And I think if we just stopped the life cycle we wouldn’t have to subject our future generations to enduring all that shiz. But, that’s another issue entirely.
At any rate, gay marriage doesn’t hurt anyone. I think that Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain and Sweden are still functioning countries, right? Or did the gays ruin them yet?
You know what hurts? Having to walk through the world afraid of what’s going to happen if you are seen holding hands with your girlfriend. Unable to feel safe psychologically, morally, emotionally and even physically–because you live in a society where people are more concerned with berating others than concentrating on their own lives. I have to constantly look over my shoulder. I’m constantly scanning the horizons double and even triple-checking to make sure I’m not in harm’s way when all I’m trying to do is just give the person whom I love with all my heart a gentle kiss on the cheek. A right that straight couples posses and rarely take advantage of. Love in any form should never be frowned upon–and those enjoying it should sure as hell should not be subject to pain of any sort. The fact that my girlfriend believes that she could lose any and all credibility with her clients as a professional over her perceived homosexuality is incredibly infuriating and a tragic commentary on where we are as an “advanced” society. That her status in her career has less to do with her skill level and ability to excel in her area of work and more to do with who she sleeps with–is so fucking frustrating. And it’s hurtful to feel that something that I cannot control, change or alter…something that is literally encoded in my DNA…makes me somehow lesser and more incompetent in others eyes.
I, of course, am less concerned with how the world views me than many of my homosexual brethren. I have no career to worry about. I am a white, middle-class, quasi-attractive, educated female who happens to be gay. In the world we live in, I know that I’m going to be ok… that “pretty” lesbians will probably almost always receive preferential treatment in comparison to pockets of other types of GLBT folks. I use this to my advantage. I don’t hide who I am in front of anyone. I wear my colors proudly. And yes, sometimes it’s still a little intimidating to strut my supah-dupah gayness throughout my spur-wearin’, gun wieldin’, tobacco spittin’ cowboy country of this deepest crimson of red states. But, I feel that it’s my responsibility, in a way, to change how people feel about homosexuality. I think that in many ways it is worth the risk because any ill-treatment I receive is just more proof for me to wield against the right wingers who I deal with on a consistent basis. So bring it on.
I think I’ve become an exception to the rule for a lot of my family and friends. An overwhelming majority of them view me as one of the good gays–that they continue to maintain a negative stigma towards homosexuals (among other sexualities straying from hetero) in general–but think that I’m “ok.” That, to me, is still insulting on every level. I get that it’s a great gateway to know someone personally who is “different” than yourself. It opens your eyes a little wider and allows you to grow as a person and become slowly comfortable with a new concept or idea. It does take time to acclimate. But, at some point, I expect progress to be made. Because I will not tolerate any sort of prejudice or bigotry. It’s not worth it to me. Someone cannot be my friend and disapprove of who I am at the same time. It’s just a contradiction of epic proportions.
Want to comment? Want to debate with me? I welcome the opportunity. But, until then I’m going to go snuggle on the couch with my lady-friend. My parents are able to deal with it now. Are you?!
My next blog on this topic will have to do with misconceptions about homosexuals, gender roles, sex, etc. Can’t wait!
Until then. Suck on this