being a part of the lgbtqa community, i am forever entrenched in details of gayness in our culture-whether that is those opposed to or in favor of-it is constantly an issue. how to be a proper gay, how to be a good ally, who is gay who is not, where they stand, how they came out, blah freakin blah blah blah. everywhere i look it’s gay! being as how the lgbtqa community has not been recognized as legit ppls for centuries, a spotlight on our presence is wonderful, but how far does that go? is someone required to divulge their sexuality? does this change with the amount of celebrity a person has?
i am openly gay. i have a partner who is a woman. we hold hands and smooch in public and say “i love you!” loud and proud. we attend school functions together and our kids introduce us as their mom’s. “this is my mom grace. and this is my other mom amy. and this is my dad ted. we all live together in a big nutshell, and although my mom and dad are not a smooching couple anymore they are besties and so i have 3 parents who love me and support me! don’t look at me that way-it’s weird but it’s cool!” the kids have their speeches all planned out. i am lucky, though. my family, my sons and exhusband, are not only accepting and open to my queerness they encourage me to be who i am despite other ppls’ views of morality, so i kinda have it easy bc even though gay bashing is not a crime in the state i live in, and there are so many crazy homophobes out there, i can retreat into my family and circle of friends to love and respect me. i can fill my unique cup with their love and not have to worry. also, it helps that most of the time i am completely unaware of social nuances and subtle bigotry, so unless it is pretty blatant i don’t even notice. ppl literally have to point or call me a derogatory remark for me to click the link of o that person’s an asshole…ok…they don’t like me bc i am gay. o well piss off! i have thick skin and a great family, so being an open lesbian is easier for me.
when working with lgbtqa youth, i took a different approach. i never told kids they have to be out to their families. the reason is simple-it can be dangerous, physically, emotionally, mentally dangerous for some ppl, and when you are a minor and your parents are in control of you legally, being out is not always a luxury for every kid. i always tried to know the parents of the kids in the youth group. if the kid was openly gay, bisexual or trans giving parents support and resources is important. understanding the environment a kid is in also helps in understanding where that kid is coming from therefore providing a better understanding of the sort of help that kid needed. for some kids, knowing their situation meant knowing their parents were hateful. there was one boy who could not be open with his dad, bc although his dad was fine and dandy w lesbians (sexualizing us of course) gay men on the other hand were an freaks and disgusting. this particular young man was in a very volatile situation that was lingering on the cusp of abuse at all times. i would never look at him and say “you should tell your dad!” that would be irresponsible of me as an advocate, and although i feel like when you hide a part of yourself from the world, it causes all sorts of inner conflict and leads to some really damaging shit mentally, sometimes there are great big reasons that a closet exist.
so, i am conflicted. on the one hand i feel that being open and honest in all aspects of your life is healthy, i can see why and how it can be difficult for some ppl to even accept they are gay much less express that to other ppl. on one hand i feel that when i kiss my partner goodbye and hold her hand i am showing the world that i am ok with who i am, and i am maybe paving the way for another little girl who wants to smooch little girls to be more comfortable with who she is, on the other hand i am not required to wave my pride flag and neither is anyone else. so i feel torn inside.
while i totally appreciate ellen and elton and chaz and all the other “out” celebrities, i do not feel that they are required to be spokesppl for the lgbtqa community. we have no idea what the private lives of these ppl are like, what their demons are and what prejudices they themselves hold not to mention the ppl in their lives. and while i have about 100 ppl in my life who know my name and think they know who i am, a person of celebrity status has millions of ppl who think they know them. there is a huge difference there! that is opening themselves up to alot of rejection and ridicule, and it is also making them responsible for being the ever good gay person or trans person bc they are the face of queer. that is sorta bullshit! i remember a coupla years back george micheals, you know the guy from wham everyone rumored to be bi bc something something ear pierced in the 80’s, apologized to the gay community for not coming out before and for not being an upstanding member of the community because he had gotten in trouble doing some naughty things in public. recently sean hayes, jack mcfarland on will and grace, also apologized for being in the closet for so long. and while, yes, being visible is a good thing and it is pretty awesome that ppl outside of the queer community seem to be accepting us more openly, i can only think of the young man and his dad, that struggle when i think of these ppl apologizing for not being open.
this last week a diver came out as gay, and it’s a big deal to ppl. i feel like i am supposed to get all worked up and just goo-goo over a person simply for being queer, and i just can’t seem to gather the strength to do that. i appreciate their openness but not anymore than i appreciate the openness of my partner or cole or carles or kat or brandon or kennedy or aj or leslie or leigh ann or brett or…..