I can't tell you how many times I have to stop myself. How many times I'm so angry about something that has to do with my being gay, that I want to get on this blog and let someone have it, because he needs the shit kicked out of him, or he needs to be shaken violently, until his brain cells fall into place so he can think clearly, like a rational human being. Or I just need, for my own mental well-being, to relieve the pressure inside, because I'll go insane if I don't.
The recent crackdown on gay people in Russia (imagine what it's like to be gay there now); the way too many countries on the African continent treat their gay and lesbian citizens, even executing them because of who they love; the young people all over North America who are bullied into committing suicide; even the gay bashings you hear about from time to time in our largest cities, where, supposedly, people are more accepting of each other's differences. Every one of these–and so many more–enrage me, set me on fire. And I want more than anything to get on my blog, to use my voice, to rave about them, to go on and on if I have to, until the poison leaves my body, and I can put one foot in front of the other and function again.
But I made the decision a couple of years ago to change the tone of what I write here, to take the high road, to be positive and uplifting, to write about things that build-up rather than tear-down. I no longer wanted to be like some other bloggers, angry all the time, using their platforms to sound off, to figuratively kick people in the head. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I just wanted to be different. I wanted to create a safe place for gay and lesbian people, particularly young people, as luck would have it, to turn to. To know that, when they came here, they'd hopefully leave feeling better about themselves and their lives and the world they live in. They'd find the strength to get through whatever's going on in their lives.
To repeat, this doesn't mean that I never feel like those who use their blogs to express their anger. In fact, I feel like them all the time, especially when I see or read about some of the fucked up stuff going on in the world. Here's the most recent example.
Yesterday, I watched a video by a young Canadian named Michael Gorlick. Briefly, after Michael lived in Vancouver for a year or so, he got to the point where, at the age of twenty-two, he couldn't take it anymore. His life was consumed by depression. He'd accepted that he was gay, but, because he was so scared, he hadn't been able to come out to any of his family and friends. Throughout his depression, he'd called his mother in Ontario, and she'd been a godsend in helping him get through it. But he hadn't been able to share the reason why he was in despair in the first place.
Finally, he decided the time was now. He packed up his car and drove through the northern United States to get back home to Toronto. His plan was to sit down with every family member, starting with his mom, and friend to tell them about himself, an act I don't need to tell you takes an enormous amount of courage, more than most straight people will ever know. And that's what he did, taping each one, which he shares in his video. Watching each coming out moment, I couldn't help but be nervous for him, as I waited for someone to turn on him, reject him outright, because all he did was say he's gay.
It never happened. Every person Mike spoke to, each one individually (the courage!), accepted him, embraced him, told him that they loved him, knew all along he was gay, and were so proud of him for taking this critical step toward being who he was always meant to be, toward getting on with the rest of his life.
The love extended to Mike was extraordinary. I felt it through the video. And I gave it back. I loved Mike for what he was doing, for how brave he was, and for sharing his coming out experience in such detail, so it could benefit other people, those who are also gay and have yet to come out, and those who could one day find themselves sitting across from someone like Mike and hear the words, "I'm gay"–filled with all the desperation and the hope and the love one can muster. What an amazing young man Mike was. What an amazing man or woman any of us is when we have to go through this.
Which is what got me so angry. Here we are, in 2013, nearly thirty years after I came out. And still, STILL, people have to come out. People have to go through what I did all those years ago, what Mike had to go through recently, what people have had to go through for decades, if not longer. Can a straight person, who has never had to come out to anyone about his sexuality, ever know what it's like to face one of the most important people in his life and say, "I'm gay"?
There is no equivalent for straight people. Straight people haven't got a clue. They don't have to offer themselves up like that, make themselves so vulnerable to the possible prejudices and bigotry of people who have no idea what it's like to be gay. For straight people–the majority of our population–it's just assumed they're straight, and they get to go on with their lives. No soul searching. No anguish for years and years. No having to accept a part of themselves that so many still find loathsome. No depression. No despair. No thoughts of suicide. No possibility of rejection. No having to come out, time and after time after time, throughout their entire lives, to new people they meet–friends, co-workers, long lost Aunt Mabel. No fuss, no muss. Ain't life easy.
It should be that easy for all of us.
Why does even one gay human being have to go through this torturous process? Why, considering how things have improved so much for gay people, particularly in North America, is coming out still necessary? Why don't we just accept people as they are, gay, straight, whatever? Why do we even care what one's sexual orientation is? Why do we make the assumption people are straight, until we put them in the regrettable position of having to tell us otherwise?
When is this fucking nonsense going to end? When? WHEN?