Monday, October 11, 2010
Are You Out There?
Today is National Coming Out Day.
I almost forgot and now it's going to throw off all my postings for the entire week. Normally I don't have my posts planned this way, but things kind of fell into place where I could take care of my blogging by beginning of the week. Ahhh....the best laid plans.
It wouldn't be troublesome if I didn't stick to my one post per day rule. ....but I do.
This is a story in three segments. Three coming out stories that really span the scope of what it is or can be like. The first one I think I've mentioned before, but not everyone is old to this blog and don't go through the archives.
I was having my Christmas in July party and my then-friend Ann was in town. We'd known each other for eons but I never truly had come out to her. But push had come to shove since everyone on their way over was gay or knew I was. I had to tell her and this was after a few people had showed up.
We went to the kitchen and I told her. She had a priceless but sincere comment: "Are you gay because you don't think women find you attractive?" My comment was just priceless and less sincere: "Ann, men don't find me attractive!"
A friend walked in at that moment and spit out his beer. While Ann and I kept in touch for a while after that, she never truly understood and it really affected our friendship. I haven't talked to her in almost 14 years at this point.
Since we've known each other since 6th grade, it is unfortunate, but it was really over other things in her life, not who I was, that terminated the friendship.
One of my friends came out to his parents when he was 16 or 17. They promptly kicked him out of the house.
I'd say it was a sad story (and it is), but he flourished beyond belief. I am always so proud of him.
While keeping contact with his sisters, as far as I know, he has seen his parents once in 30+ years and that was recently. At a gathering for one of his sisters, his parents were there and he was also in attendance with his partner. His parents did not recognize him - at first. Why would they? In 30 years, he was a stranger to them.
When they realized who they were shaking hands with, they turned and walked away.
That totally amazes me, but clearly what they saw as a betrayal was still there for them. Personally, I just think they assholes who don't deserve to know their son. I do believe some folks can never be educated and as tough as it is, ties must be cut.
He is a well educated (Ivy League - without their help, thank you!) and daring man. I've known him for over 25 years and absolutely love him. ...and no, it's not Denton. I love his resilience and daring for life. As hard as it is to believe, the rejection of his parents might be one of the best things that could have happened to him.
One of my other friends has a son who came out to him at the age of 15.
I totally found that brave. I was never like that. No one my age seemed to be that 'out' at that age. Said friend has been understanding and supportive of his son. ....as much as he can be.
He won't lie to me, but clearly doesn't fully understand everything, but they talk constantly (the son is now in college) and visits are frequent - both ways.
It's been nice for me, since my friend will ask me certain questions on development of gay teen to adult. I can only give my life experience, but in some ways I've quelled his fears that his son is not out of the norm for his track in life (it's not a choice) and at that age. In a way, you think he'd be farther along coming out so early to his entire family, but he's right on schedule....if there is a schedule.
And my friend? He takes some delight when others start talking badly about gays. He will gladly chime up and tell them that his son is gay. It usually stops the chatter immediately. Whether it begins to have these folks think differently is yet to be seen.
I'm actually really proud of both of them.
It's not easy to come out, but it does get easier. I almost relish the time I know I will have to tell someone that I'm gay, and can see them coming down the pike and about to ask me about my 'wife' or if I have kids.
You don't always get the desired results you want, but you know, maybe those people are just not meant to be in your life and I can almost always assure you that it will make you a better and stronger person.
Song by: Dar Williams