Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Saturday, August 28, 2010

But first a bit of blogging...

I admit it. Until the other day, I could not tell you who Ken Mehlman was. Although I am probably more political (being on the progressive left) than many people, I don't keep up with the Republicans as much as I ought, especially the chairs of their national committee.

But the other day I subscribe to Joe. My. God. And then Mehlman came out as gay, after denying it for years and working against gays in so many ways for years. And Joe Jervis has been extremely educational.

The good news is that, finally having come to terms with himself, apparently, he has come out as an advocate for gay marriage. The bad news, of course, is that given his past, it will be an uphill road in getting gay activists to forgive, and they're certainly not going to forget--nor should they. Here's a quote that Joe put up by Pam Spaulding, as quoted in the New York Times:
"While it’s nice that Ken has finally come out of the closet as an advocate, it’s really hard to forgive him for the damage he did to the community by working actively against it for pay for years. That he can coast on the gains for our community by supporting AFER’s stellar work on Prop 8 on the backs of many during his tenure at the RNC who bore the brunt of homophobia, those who died as a result of hate crimes, the activists who were assailed professionally is unbelievable. Yet here we are in 2010 watching it unfold. As a human being Mehlman owes the community a serious apology for fomenting homophobia for political gain.”
I wish we lived in a world where gay people would not feel like they had to keep their orientation--a basic aspect of their lives--secret. I also wish that they would not channel their self-loathing--bred by an intolerant society--into activities into hypocrisy and activities that hurt other gay people. In much of my adult lifetime, I have seen a lot of gays, especially men, who have not come out of the closet who were extremely homophobic, only to be surprised when they were not welcomed with open arms when finally making that step.

It also amazes me how much self-denial goes into one's sexuality if it isn't considered mainstream. I know one minister who married, raised children with his wife, and then one day announced they were gay. A lot of the lesbians I sang in the chorus with came out later in life. I knew one couple at church that announced that he was gay and she was a lesbian, leaving their teenage children to pick up the pieces. I've known someone who hid their sexuality in a supposed heterosexual relationship whilst cruising bathrooms and having anonymous sex with other men. I've been the third wheel in a supposed bisexual 'triunity' when really it should have been just a couple of gay men together.

In fact, in my amazingly broad acquaintance with gay men and lesbians (for a bisexual woman who isn't really part of the community, doesn't do the functions, and doesn't date), I only know one person who figured out at an early age that he was gay, approached his first partner with a list of things to try to make sure he was right, and never, ever was in the closet, being comfortable with his sexuality and never seeing it as some big obstacle. Ironically, though, since he never got into gay culture beyond a stint in a gay men's chorus, many people don't even realise he's gay (except for the fact that he's been in a relationship with a man for years). Most everyone else I've known has either tried to be heterosexual at some point in their lives, struggled with telling family, struggled to 'come out' to the people around them, and it's taken a terrible toll on them somewhere along the way.

And the fact of the matter is, the although the person is ultimately responsible for his or her actions and how they deal with their homosexuality (or bisexuality for that matter, since many of us 'pass'), our society makes it very hard to be comfortable at an early age, although that's getting better, I think, mainly because of the work of gays in the last thirty or so years to reassure heterosexuals that they're the same in most other ways except in the gender they choose to love.

And I write this knowing that I probably don't emphasise being bisexual enough in my life. It generally doesn't come up because I haven't dated in, well a long time, and the last time I was with anyone was 1994, and she and I weren't so much dating as having sex for a brief time, and it wasn't during the holiday season, so no taking her home to meet the family. But if I met someone of either gender whom I was serious about, I would take them home, even though my grandmother might have a heart attack on the spot. And I'd certainly take someone of either gender to the company Christmas party (in fact the only person I ever took was a woman, but we weren't dating at all). My mother and I have talked just a bit. The general consensus among my gay friends and my mom for that matter is that I'm confused about my sexuality. So be it. I just know I like both men and women fairly indiscriminately, and that's okay with me. I hope it's okay with others, but I don't really care if it is or not. And I think that's how it should be.

No comments: