An email to the aunt of a Marine’s gay son
thanks for the hospitality — but really, …
you don’t know how I hate the “big conversation” — the “coming out” talk — the “oh by the way, I’m gay” talk — I’ve had it hundreds of times – every time I meet a new hetero — oh it’s so aggravating. For the onus is always on me. I’m the one “coming out.” Yah, sure, I’ve been out since I was 15 or so, but it’s new to them, so it must be me who’s “coming out”. I’m so damn obvious it’s an idiot who can’t see it. But every time it’s the same thing. That’s why I get so animated on this subject. This is why I try to avoid it at all costs. It always seems like I’m on the defense, to defend my existence, it’s oh so aggravating.
You and your nephew – -it’s not “confront” — it’s you, Sue, understanding. Your nephew already knows who he is, he understands himself. He already knows how society deals with it, he already lives his life — now he just has to understand how you see it. You need to explain yourself, he does not need to explain himself. And your brother and his wife need to explain to their son whom they are — it’s not for the gay person to explain ourselves. We just are. Deal with it. We don’t know why, but we are. That’s it. And we’re oh so very tired of playing defense. Caz, my friend, is far more deferential about the issue — not me. Not me at all.
Gay folks have no “problem” with gayness. We just wonder to what degree each straight person we encounter has the problem. We don’t have some inability to grasp the reality — we’re extraordinarily realistic on the issue — it’s straight folks who are the enigma. You’re the ones with the difficulties. You straight people are the ones who are shocked, surprised, upset, unable to deal, condemning, or just not willing to accept the reality– or uninformed, uneducated, misinformed, or whatever other word you can conjure up. But we are so sure of this it’s like the sun rising in the East. That’s it. Explain yourselves, don’t demand we to explain ourselves. We can’t help it. It’s not our problem. It’s yours, as straight people.
Where you, as Sue, lies on the straight spectrum is for you to figure out. That’s your talk with your nephew. Not — why is he gay — but how is Sue going to deal with the reality. It’s not how is he gay, it’s how his parents will deal with reality. It’s not “why did he do this to us.” It’s why did you do it to him! After all, whether genes, or early childhood development (so brain dead a theory, but still got life) it can’t be the gay boy’s fault. We knew when we were kids — like 7, 8, 9 , 10 year old kids. You all have no idea, I’ve never met the straight person who agreed with me on my own reality. No, I was “Experimenting” or some such mush. But, we knew. and you all were blind.
It’s your problem to figure out how you will deal with — for all we know is that we are, and we deal with it quite fine, far finer than you all think we do. We think about it so little it’s amazing. In fact, we only think about it when we wind up in these bizarre conversations about the reality of existence. It’s quite amazing how comfortable we are with ourselves. And you all are oblivious as to how uncomfortable you all are about it — to one degree or another. (Sure, sure, everyone says there’s not a problem, but watch what happens when two guys kiss! Oh the teeth gnashing! Go watch!)
From outright nastiness to some grasping, to some feeling of unease, to some feeling that well, “not that there’s anything wrong with it” — but I have yet to hear any straight person say it’s OK. No, it’s just “not anything wrong.” Which is a negative casting to the reality.
There’s PFLAG — oh look it up — there’s some 8 chapters in South Florida. They might be more sedate on the issue, more helpful to your way of thinking — for they are like you — not opposed, just not quite comprehending. Sure, you’re smart, you’re good, you’re kind hearted, — but you truly have never encountered the length and breadth of the reality of a gay person.
You know, I’m one of those “radical homosexuals” who will brook no nonsense from straight folks. Every word or phrase I jump upon, and show how it doesn’t quite fit. I’ve been in more heated discussions that you can imagine. My own friends marvel at my fortitude and insistence. I’m not the best adviser on this issue.
Yes, I’m one of those “radical” “militant” “homosexuals” saying that we’re as natural and God granted as any other good and beneficial thing on earth, and just as worthy and just as good as mom and apple pie. Yes, we’re beneficial. Not just an annoying appendage, buthonest to God Goodness. The Lord did decree my existence. Jesus does shine down on me for being gay, not despite it. I annoy a lot of people with this attitude — including many gay folks — with my uncompromising refusal to listen to the “debate” on straight terms. My insistence is — accept that God wanted gay folks, so here we are. Hello.
And that’s why I am both the best source of advice, and the worst.
And so good luck with that all. But don’t, ever, never, please no, put your nephew on the defensive on this issue – -for the issue is not gayness, nor his being gay — it’s the way straight people deal with gayness. And that’s not our fault or our problem — nor can we solve it. Only you can – -with God’s help.
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