Tuesday, October 11, 2005

come out, come out, wherever you are

Pam notes that today is National Coming Out Day. Since this year's theme is "talk about it," I figured I would take the liberty to babble on the subject.

I think, for the most part, most straight people take their heterosexuality for granted - we live in what is now called a "heteronormative" society (just as we have a christonormative and caucasonormative society), those who are in the majority really have no idea what it's like to be a minority (especially not a reviled one) and no incentive to even try to understand.

I'm not sure when I became openly "gay friendly". To be honest, I'm not sure when I even started thinking about it or identifying/recognizing people as gay. I can't imagine that I was always open and understanding of people being gay but, to be honest, I don't recall ever being particularly concerned or freaked out by people being gay. One thing I do recall is the sudden realization that the sister of one of my best friends was gay. D was much older than Brooke and me (still is, especially since I've started lying about my age) and she wasn't around a whole heck of a lot but she was around often enough that most of Brooke's friends knew her and had a good rapport with her. I'm guessing D was out, because I do remember her "friend" Joann being around on occasion - as a matter of fact, D & Joann chaperoned a bunch of us on a camping trip and none of us thought anything of it. About a year later I remember starting to remark that D reminded me of the character Frankie (a butch lesbian) on the Australian soap Prisoner Cell Block H. I vividly remember Brooke cutting me off with a "don't say it" and a look that I now recognize as a fear that in saying it, I would be acknowledging something Brooke didn't want anyone else to notice (we were 13 and it was the late 70s). I was really only commenting on the physical resemblance and was so oblivious I hadn't quite caught on to the rest, so I'm not sure how long it took before I had the lightbulb moment. Frankly, it didn't matter. D and Joann were the same people and guess I never thought there was any reason to think anything of their relationship. That sort of "Oh, OK" reaction pretty much sums up my reaction to people being gay. I don't see why it's a big deal to anyone not directly involved in the relationship any more than a straight relationship would be, I never have and, barring head injury, never will.

I have a second cousin who's gay that had a mutually exclusive, monogamous relationship that lasted 18 years (with a healthy, well-adjusted son no less). During that time, many of my cousins got married and divorced. A former boss of mine has been with his partner for over 25 years. An old friend, who spent years identifying her [bisexual] self as a lesbian, is now marking the 7-year mark with her husband (truth be told, she had lousy taste in women). Shockingly, none of those relationships (straight or gay) has has had any impact on the sanctity of my parents marriage of 46 years or the marriages of anyone else. None of those relationships has brought the destruction of society, induced beastiality obsessed fundamentalist men to marry donkeys, caused girls to be sluts or affected the polygamy practiced by Mormon sects. We don't define or limit straight people by how or with whom they have sex, there's no legitimate reason do so for people who aren't straight.

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