It’s late, and I should be going to bed because I have another full day ahead of me tomorrow. But as I was catching up with my blog reading, there were two posts that I just felt I wanted to single out in the hopes that a few more poeple might read them, because I think they speak to two different aspects of gay life that maybe a lot of non-gay people don’t fully understand or even think about. Reading them, I found myself nodding in recognition of what these two guys were writing about.
First, Chris Geidner sounds off about why “the love that dare not speak its name” has become “the love that won’t shut up.”
When you ask why we tell who we are, it’s because for many years to do so was a career- or life-ending move.
When you ask why we share our sexual orientations in displays of pride, it’s because for too long we were told by all that our very being was not worthy of pride; to the contrary, it was shameful, they said.
When you laughingly use inane TV shows as the backdrop for your proof of how the LGBT community endlessly asserts our alleged superiority over you, I would ask you to read the Ohio, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Utah constitutions. Please note that although heterosexuals’ marriages are explicitly proclaimed as being superior to those of homosexuals, there is not the slightest mention of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.
There is no need for “straight pride” celebrations, my friends, because of the many ways in which “straight pride” is otherwise known as “reality.”
Read the whole thing. It’s well written and worth attention. I’m glad Chris is out there saying it, because to be honest I don’t think I have the patience anymore to put it as well as he did. There are some things that are nearly impossible to explain to people who haven’t shared that experience. It’s not that they can’t understand, it’s just that there isn’t sufficient language. I can try to tell a straight person what it’s like to be closeted (if I can remember back that far) and to fear being found out, and I might be able to do an adequate job. However, the understanding of that experience is one that goes bone deep among most gay men and doesn’t require explanation.
The impetus was a bunch of College Republicans holding another “Straight Pride Week.” They don’t get it, and they never will. To be honest, I’m probably too willing to write them (and others among their supporters) off completely. My simple response when it comes to Gay Pride events, to folks like the College ‘pubs, would simply be “They’re not for you. They’re for us. You don’t have to enjoy them or understand them.”
It amazes me how some people take for granted the constant bombardment of heterosexuality that’s around us each and every day. It makes me wish that for a day, a week, a month, or a year the tables could be turned 180 degrees, and left that way until people gained a sufficient understanding of what it’s like on the other side. But that’s not going to happen. So, we tell. And tell. And tell. Every day.
The other post is an example of why it’s important to tell. I’m sure Brechi Erikkson is not the only one who’s had the feelings he writes about upon hearing how the lives of some former co-workers have progressed.
So, from her e-mail I have found out that my ex-office mate was married this month, and both of the other girls are also married, one with her first baby on the way. Ling herself is the last one standing who is not married, but I am happy to report that she is dating someone and said that it is going very well. Now, I’m happy to hear that they are all doing well. However for some reason this bugs me and makes me feel so jealous becuase even if I was seriously dating someone right now, I couldn’t get married, so I could never really feel equal to the married people.
I hate being in a situation where people like Ling probably just feel sorry for the fact that I can’t get married, so there is always this uncomfortable feeling in the air. It is the same way with my parents. Even though they are to the point where I am pretty sure they are fine with me spending my life with some guy I love eventually, I feel sad that I can never really be what they wanted, and can never really experience what they did, becuase the rest of my family wouldn’t feel happy for me if I was to have a committment ceremony with a man the way they would if I was to marry a girl. And I am not even going to go into opening the whole can of worms of how sad it is to me that science and biology just don’t allow two men or two women to conceive a child that belongs to both of them biologically. Yes, I know adoption is an option, but once again I just feel sad that gay people just get the raw end of the bargain when it comes to having and raising children.
I sat here trying to think of what to say to Brechi, but adequate words woudn’t come. Know what? We do get the raw end of the bargain in a number of ways; more than I care to count at the moment. But as a 35 year old gay man, soon to be 36, married (in every sense but the legal one) to a wonderful man, and blessed with an amazing kid, I can attest to one thing: we may get a raw deal, but we can make amazing things of our lives in spite of it.
I won’t say it’s been easy, or that it’s turned out entirely as I would have liked. Yes, it would have been great for my parents to have been as happy for me as they would have if I’d ended up with a wife instead of a husband. But they’re not. Nor are they likely to be in what’s left of their lifetime or mine. I finally had to decide that their unhappiness is their choice and their responsibility, and that my happiness with my own life was just as important; in fact, more important.
On having children, I was never on who felt a deep need to have my own biological children. I understand that’s important to some people, but it wasn’t to us. We simply wanted a child. So, we chose adoption and we got our son. We were even able to finalize the adoption as a couple, so we both became Parker’s legal parents at the same time. (Though as far as I’m concerned, he became my son the moment I first held him.) I can’t say that we got the short end of the stick in that case.
What’s the most bothersome is knowing out limited our legal protections are as a family, compared to other families. We’ve acquired (read, bought) as much legal protection for ourselves as we can, having the the lawyer who helped finalize our adoption also write up our wills, medical powers-of-attorney, advance directives, etc., and those only allow us access to a few of the 1,000+ rights and protections afforded to legally married couples. It’s a lack I feel quite actutely everytime I look at my son, because I understand our family is vulnerable in ways that other families are not.
The reality, especially after the last election, is that we aren’t going to have those rights protections anytime soon; most likely not during all the years my son will be growing into adulthood, and perhaps not until he’s well into adulthood. But even if it takes 20, 30 years or more, its important that our families have acces to those rights and protections. The only way that’s ever going to happen is if more people understand. The only way more people are going to understand is if we tell.
So, we tell.