When I was a little girl, I asked my mother what “gay” meant. I remember her telling me something like, “It’s when a man loves another man the way I love your father.” Even at the time, I think I thought something like, “You mean in an obsessive, smothering way that will ultimately drive him away?” but I didn’t say anything.
Her response was without judgment or prejudice, and for that I am grateful. I was raised by hippies in the seventies and eighties, for better AND for worse. I grew up in a “showbiz family,” and knew gay men and women in the industry my whole life.
Some of the comments I’ve allowed on my blog have prompted OTHER commenters to call me and my blog “homophobic.” Now, if I were really homophobic, this would be the part where I assure you that my best friend is gay. That I voted “no” on California’s Proposition 8 and unfriended Mormons on Facebook. That I gave money to the Californians for Equality Campaign. That I volunteered to be the faculty advisor of the Gay/Straight Alliance Club at the high school where I teach. That I love Ellen.
But doesn’t all of that sound horribly defensive?
Or, I could go another route and say something like, “I love the gays,” as if they were all alike. Gay people, I have found, are like all people. Some of them are awesome and some of them aren’t.
In my ongoing commentary of the writing of a popular mommy blogger who delights in things which are not large, I have mentioned that her obsequious poppa is openly gay and that, owing to the fact that he has several children, other readers and I have concluded that he left his wife at some point due to his realization that he was gay. I don’t think that my calling attention to that fact is, by itself, homophobic. If the wife forgives him, and the kids accept him, then what business is it of mine? None at all.
I have noticed, however, in comments on my blog that I have NOT printed due to their cringe-worthy nature, it REALLY bothers some people. That surprises me, but so did the fact that California voted against gay marriage. People have strong feelings about this issue. I’m one of them.
As society changes laws to make gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people equal to their heterosexual peers, I believe that this will benefit everyone. Gay men will no longer marry straight women in an effort to hide their homosexuality because there will be no reason to. Gay politicians won’t have to resort to tapping out codes in public restrooms as they “assume a wide stance” or blame their all-male staff tickle parties on their 50th birthdays. If they want to get married, they can marry their gay partners. Then they can go to marriage counseling and argue about The Power Struggle, like the rest of us. One nice thing about gay marriages? Probably fewer toilet seat arguments.
In my life, I have known of three women whose husbands left them because the husbands were gay. The first I’ll call Delia. She was young, gorgeous, and in love with her successful writer husband, Craig. They had two healthy daughters whom they both adored. When the girls were both under ten, the husband admitted his deep, dark secret. He was gay. He was in love with a man. He’d been seeing (and sleeping with) men behind Delia’s back the whole time they’d been married. Even when they were dating! Poor Delia was devastated. A family was torn apart. My mother, who had been oh-so-politically-correct to my childhood inquiries about words, spared no horrible slur when she spoke of what Craig AND HIS GAY PENIS had done to her sweet friend Delia. This was my first experience with hateful words spoken by my mother, and it made an impression on me. I’m happy to say it upset and horrified me.
The second I’ll call Erica. She was married for 25 years. Just when all the kids (there were four) had grown and left home, and Erica was looking forward to spending her waning years with her beloved husband, he dropped the bomb: he was gay. He’d stayed for the sake of the children. Now that the children were grown, he was going to go be true to himself and find a man. Erica told me she felt like her husband had died, only worse. If he’d died, she’d have the cherished memories of their life together. This way, everything she had believed about her life with him had been a lie.
The third and final story is of a woman I’ll call Louise. She was 18 in the 1950s. She took a tumble in a hay-field with a studly young buck and fell pregnant. He did the honorable thing and married her. Two years later, they divorced because, although they were great friends, they made horrible spouses. After they divorced, he told her he was gay. She was like, “Duh.” Fifty years later, they’re still great friends. They even take vacations together. They are grandparents together.
Human relationships are complicated. The only purpose of these stories is to show you what my perspective has been, growing up. These are the events and incidents that shaped my life and my views. I’m not trying to tell you what to think, nor to condemn or glorify any of the people in these scenarios. I certainly would not want to be reduced to nor judged by the worst moral decision I ever made. My blog is anonymous for a reason. I want to be free as a writer and not limited by my position in society to express myself. I don’t come here seeking fame and recognition.
I recently had a long conversation with a former student wherein she explained to me that there is a new gender called “Z.” Apparently, there are some who do not want a gender imposed on them by society. XX and XY are no longer our only choices. This is news to me. That’s why it’s good to talk to college kids. They keep me up on the way things are changing. When I was in college, our LGB club was going through some conflict because the transgendered people wanted to be included. They wanted to call it the LGBT, and a lot of people thought that was RIDICULOUS! It was still a commonly held belief that transgendered people were mentally ill. It wasn’t like being gay or lesbian, which was a sexual orientation you were born with. Believing you’d been born in the wrong body was a sickness of the mind. By the time I left college in 1997, it was the LGBT Club. Progress happens. I’m all for that. I’m for truth and openness and for people living in committed relationships with the people they love. All of them. GO POLYGAMY!