Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Power of Coming Out

I knew topical novelist Jodi Picoult would write about gay rights sooner or later. Although I've never read anything she's written, her new book Sing You Home, released March 1 and already a bestseller, is at the top of my current reading list.

In an interview with Tracy Sherlock, Books Editor of The Vancouver Sun, Picoult had the following to say:

'...People who are against gay rights often feel that they don't know anyone who is gay.  "If you know someone gay, if you have a gay friend, or a gay butcher or a gay cousin, you know that these people want exactly what a straight person wants: to be happy, to be healthy, to fall in love, to get married and have a baby...[p. D6]."'

(The above quote is from "A Mother's Mission," published in the Saturday, March 12, 2011 issue of The Vancouver Sun.)

Coincidentally, Picoult can also add to the list of gay people she knows her own nineteen-year-old son, Kyle, who came out to his family in 2007, during Picoult's writing of Sing You Home.  (She admits she knew her son was gay when he was just three years old.)
In past posts, I've written about gay people coming out all at once, suggesting the straight world would be so inundated with the sheer numbers of gay people, they'd have no choice but to sit up and take notice.

Another benefit would be that straight people could no longer claim gays are a part of other families, not their own.  When they realize how many gay people are in their own families, and how much they love them, they'd sing a very different tune in terms of human rights for gay people.

As U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said recently, "Gay rights are human rights."

Together, taking gay to the next level.


  1. I think all levels of society are slowing coming to the realization that gay people are everywhere and are as "normal" as everyone else. Just as Iranian president Ahmadinejad's comment that there are "no gays in Iran" was met with immediate laughter, people in this day and age are smart enough to see the reality around them. Access to information is no longer controlled by the church or state, and only the most dogmatic or naive will persist in their 19th century views of homosexuality!

  2. Great comment, Doug, and I agree completely. Unfortunately, it is the most dogmatic and naive who will continue to make things difficult for us.

    But, let's look at the positive, shall we? Circumstances for us are far better now than they have ever been, and I sincerely hope that translates into more gay people than ever feeling empowered to come out and begin to live their lives fully.

    No matter how long you spend in the closet, it's too long. No one should have to waste any of his or her life there.

    Many thanks again for your interest in my blog, and for taking the time to leave a comment. I really appreciate it.

  3. People... When people are scared of something, the attack it. Verbally, mental, physcally. Teens espially. We teenagers know the things that will hurt the most. But dont feel bad... Every one is made fun of. Once you get out of that hurtful place, youll know that you can survive anything (:

  4. I appreciate your perspective, Gillian. Thank you for expressing it.

    Sure, I understand people feeling scared of something and wanting to defend themselves against it. That's the survival instinct in all of us.

    But, really, we need to accept people's differences, because we're all different in some way. Whether we're Asian, or overweight, or Jewish, or gay, or whatever, all of us are different, and, as you say, all of us are teased. If that's the case, and we know how badly it makes us feel about ourselves, then why do it to anyone else?

    We can't control what other people do, but we can control what we do. And the choice is always ours to stop bullying, because we see how it hurts others and because we want to make a positive difference in other people's lives.

    The difficulty with accepting everyone gets made fun of and will survive it and be stronger for the future is two-fold: 1). Some don't survive it, as evidenced by the multiple suicides in the United States last September, and 2). Those who do, in one way or another, carry the scars left by bullying for much of their lives. I can speak firsthand to that.

    The bottom line is, we cannot accept that teasing or bullying or being made fun of is acceptable, because it isn't. It may be the way things are now, but we must change that.

    I'm hopeful that as we become more aware of the impact of bullying, teenagers will find more constructive ways to deal with their insecurities, fear, and anger. And that everyone will have a better chance of getting through her grade school years unscathed by the hit to self-esteem bullying causes.

    Thanks again for your comment and for the opportunity to respond to it.

  5. Rick, I finished Sing You Home last night, after spending the last couple days finding any time I could to finish it.

    While I'm itching itching itching to review it, I'll allow you time to read it, simply because I respect you enough. While I don't intend this statement to imply that you have to read it any sooner than you would normally, what I do intend to say is that you HAVE to read this book. It's fantastic, and sent me through an incredible emotional journey. I encourage any other readers as well, to take a look and read it, and if you're able, listen to the companion music to the book. Please.

  6. Heather, please go ahead and write your review.

    I appreciate your thoughtfulness, but no worries about ruining the story for me, I promise I will wait to read your review until after I've read the novel. I've just started reading "The Paris Wife," another book that holds a lot of fascination for me, because it's about Paris in the 1920s and about a writer (Ernest Hemingway). I expect it will be a bit before I get to Picoult's "Sing Me Home," although there's nothing to say I won't try to have the two books going at the same time.

    Last weekend, I broke down and joined the 21st century. I bought a Kobo ereader from Chapters. I bought Picoult's book on it, for just $9.99. Can't argue with the price, but I'm a lifelong lover of the physical containers of books. I'm not sure how I'll adjust to not having one in my hands, not being able to turn the pages, not being able to smell the delicious ink. I guess we'll see. (This is a roundabout way of saying I don't have the CD to listen to.)

    Thanks again for your consideration. I really appreciate it.