"I just found your blog and love the pure, unapologetic love!"
In mid-July, I received the above comment from a new reader and friend in New York State, Donna Smaldone. It was attached to a post titled 'New Pictures of "This Gay Relationship,"' but it expressed her overall appreciation for what she saw in my blog. It took Donna's kind words for me to see something I hadn't before, that I suppose I'd even taken for granted.
If Donna meant that I don't come across in my writing, or in pictures of Chris and me, that I'm ashamed of my relationship, of the love Chris and I have for each other, or feel I have to apologize for it, you're right. For me, our love is normal, organic, and natural. I've loved Chris for so long, I can't look at my feelings for him any differently from how Donna looks at her feelings for her husband, Skip.
Because, in fact, there is no difference. How could there be? Just like Donna and Skip, Chris and I are two people who love each other with everything we have. We are bonded emotionally. We're there for each other. We trust and respect each other. That's what all couples who are in love are supposed to do. So why would Chris and I be any different, just because we're two men?
What upsets me is gay people around the world wonder if they will ever fall in love; wonder if love is even a possibility for them, just because they're attracted to people of the same gender; wonder if the world they live in will recognize, honor, and respect the love they have for their partners; wonder if that same world will continue to make loving someone as difficult as it has for them.
But even before all that, they wonder if loving someone of the same gender will mean having to forfeit the love of family and friends they have now. Is it an either/or situation? To have the love of one, must they sacrifice the love of the other? Or is it possible, not only to believe you're loveable, but also to keep the love of family and friends, AND have the love of a life partner as well?
I'm here to tell you all of that is possible. But, of course, the first step is accepting that you yourself are loveable--one of the greatest lessons we must learn as gay and lesbian people. Once you recognize you're worthy of love--from yourself, from family and friends, and from a life partner--then you open your heart to the love that is out there for you, that is always available, that is your birthright.
You've heard people say, if it can happen to me, it can happen to you? Well, I believe that if I can accept my sexual orientation and learn that I'm loveable; if I can come out and keep the love of family and friends; if I can, despite all the challenges the world puts in our way, find a life partner, fall in love, and build a life with him, you can, too. You are as entitled to love as I am. I'm no different from you.
So, do I have a reason to apologize for the love Chris and I have for each other? A reason to apologize because the human being I love and have shared almost the last two decades of my life with is another man? No. I don't think so. I don't think so at all. Not even close. I have nothing to apologize for. Nothing at all.