Why should it even matter that you’re GAY?

Dear Readers,

I am gay.

I have been open about being gay for about a decade, and I have been accepting of my own homosexuality (by which I mean to say that I stopped trying to change it for Jesus) for about four years now.

I am a lot of other things as well.  I am a writer, working on my first novel.  I am a college graduate, who is very proud to call University of Texas at Austin my alma mater.  I am a home owner (see recent blog posts) and a wanderer.  I am a dabbler in Buddhism, and a practicing pagan of sorts.  I am a gamer, and a world traveler, and a coffee drinker.

But I am also gay.

priderally1

I’m SUPER gay.

The issue which has come up for me, which I didn’t expect to hit me so hard, is the recent attempt by several friends and acquaintances to reassure me that my being gay just “doesn’t matter” to them, and that it doesn’t change the way they view me as a person.

It came up first in regards to someone else, a young man I had encountered who, by my estimation of his self-expression, is likely attracted to other men.  His family, close friends of mine, when I made this observation, was very defensive, claiming that “it doesn’t matter” if he’s gay, it doesn’t change how we feel so why should we talk about it?!

It didn’t sit well with me, and I wasn’t sure why.  It was a good thing that his family didn’t devalue him because he was likely a little light in the loafers right?

Then, a few days ago, George Takei (Lord and Master of Facebook) posted a blog entry about this very subject (http://www.allegiancemusical.com/blog-entry/i-dont-even-think-you-gay-well-you-should?upw).  It was regarding the recent coming out of Jodi Foster in an award acceptance speech, and the relative non-reaction it received.  In that blog, as I understand it, Mr. Takei says some things I have felt for a long time, but never spoken. He talks about the importance of the homosexual struggle for equality, and its effect on the people who have struggled in a society that doesn’t accept them as they are, and the importance of gay role models in today’s society.  I was impressed and I reposted the article to my timeline.

I got a private message from a very good friend of mine shortly after that which read:  “Not to be contrary, but it really doesn’t matter to me [that you’re gay], and it doesn’t change who you are to me.”

Let me take just one moment here to tell you about my friend, whom I will call simply Friend from now on.  He is not someone I would consider close minded.  He and I have differing political opinions, but we have helped one another on many projects, share a close circle of friends, and he has been supportive of all of my partners and my choices in life.  I wanted to start out by conveying my esteem for him personally.

However, it stuck with me that he had never once told me that it didn’t matter to him that I was a Writer, or that I was a Wizard, or that I was Caucasian.  The only characteristic he had ever “differentiated” from my identity was my sexual orientation.  I know he didn’t mean it badly, but it itched, and then burned, and then downright began aching that he felt that was somehow appropriate.

During our ensuing conversation over the subject of Mr. Takei’s blog, he also raised some difficult points, and had some honest questions.  Most of our interaction, however, flowed out of one general question: “Even if someone is clearly gay, why is it a problem to avoid the topic?”

What follows is my best attempt at a response to him, in letter form.  Click more to read it. Continue reading

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Sensei Meets a Bully

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Credit to ArcanePrayer on Deviantart for this great image. Visit them at: http://arcaneprayer.deviantart.com/

Dear Readers,

I wanted to share with you an experience I had awhile ago as a substitute teacher.  The names have been changed, and the events slightly altered, but this is a more or less true story.  I’m still not sure if I did right or wrong, but when I think about it, I do feel some pride in my actions.  I’ll leave it to you to judge ultimately though

Sincerely,

Sensei

March 8, 2012

She wasn’t what you would call “after school special” material.  She had bedraggled blonde hair, tired from an endless parade of crimping, styling, and bleaching. Throw in a dash of Texas heat and humidity exhaustion and you could imagine that if she did not look like she did today, she might have been quite beautiful.  She was slender, but wouldn’t be by the time she was thirty, and everything she wore was High School Musical pink.

I must admit, her voice was hardly distinguishable from the dull drone of High School post-test release filling the portable building classroom I was banished to.  I might not have even noticed her at all, if she hadn’t said something I did notice: the name of my niece.

It is a strange feeling when you hear something familiar and intimate like the name of a loved one in a place you have no connection to.  So needless to say, I could hear nothing at all save her nasal vocal excretions.

“THAT girl was such a bitch.  I went to the office every day because of her, but it was worth it just to see her ugly face when she cried.  Can you believe she keeps trying out for Cheer?  That cow will never be one of us.”

A murmur of laughter and nervous acceptance went up from the students closest to her, who I noticed were lounged around her like she was a particularly peppy cousin of Jabba the Hutt.  I also noticed an Indian student two rows over slowly lower his eyes and turn away, as if the conversation were stinging him.

A new name, call her “Ginnie”, was introduced via interjection of Pinkie’s shorter, fatter, browner friend.

“That girl?”, Pinkie began, “Did you see what she posted on Facebook?  I mean, how dare that bitch keep trying to come into our locker room, after she got kicked out for being such a skank with her boyfriend?  And you know, even if you think that, you don’t put that up on Facebook, with Cheer in the name.  Then we all look like bitchy elementary school students and everyone knows we aren’t like that.  I’m glad I told Coach about her and that fag she’s blowing.”

The smiles on the faces of her friends look like slowly cracking mirrors.  I catch the eyes of one of the boys sitting near her, and he shakes his head twice, silently begging me not to help.  The farthest rows of students have turned slowly away, bodies sideways in desks, eyes averted as the ranting kicks into high gear.  With each proposed name, Pinkie launches into a torrent of vitriol, laced with a enough obscenity to kick her off daytime television.   The students who are clearly not her in-group look like mice trapped in a glass cage with a snake, hopelessly waiting until it is their turn to be devoured, and trying not to react to the hapless carnage visited on others like them. Continue reading