06 March 2012

Please, come out.

I wanted to tell you (and Dino)...
A debate started up in my classroom today about gay rights. One of my students took a strong stand against it. I won't repeat what he said, because we've all heard it, and I was thoroughly disgusted. BUT, as I listened, and responded with the 'other side' in as calm a manner as I could manage, it dawned on me...
The most beautiful example of HUMANS I have is you two. So, I told him about two wonderful friends of mine who managed to make me cry for the first time after 13 years. At their wedding. In a church. (Gauntlet thrown, said I. ha.)

Know what he said when I was done? "Ms G, I think you just changed my mind. Because that's awesome."

I just wanted to share how you helped me open at least one very closed mind today.

to you and Dino!

Just got an email from Steve, who saw this on his Facebook wall. I don't have a Facebook, so he forwarded me the message.

I don't know if I've shared this with too many of my readers before, so if it's new, welcome. If it's not, then settle in, because it's something that is important that people know. When you're young and gay, you think you're the only one. Nobody else could possibly understand you, because you don't know any other gay people in your life. Because of the disgusting things that hatemongering people have done over the years to make us feel unwanted, and like there's something wrong with us, we remain silent, and hope that nobody else can tell.

And when injustice happens, we fear to speak out about it, because standing up for gay people would make the nasty people assume that you're gay. So you quietly watch it happening, and say nothing, in the hope that they don't find out about this horrible secret that you are hiding.

It feels so good to be out to the world, and not make any apologies for who I am. Maybe it's not your cup of tea, but I'm not asking you to join in, am I? Katie's letter reminded me one of the reasons that it's so important for me to be out: because if I'm closeted, then I'm invisible, and some other person out there will likely feel invisible too. Some other person who doesn't have my family, or my friends, or my wonderful and loving husband to support and care for and love me. Someone whose family asks him, either explicitly or not, to push that part of himself or herself down. Whose religious leaders ask the same. Whose school administrators wish for the same, so that they don't have to deal with the asshole parents who seem to think that wanting protection for all kinds is some kind of insidious agenda out to corrupt their rotten little spawn.

Maybe some other Indian kid out there, reading things on the Internet, sees that he's not the only one out there. Maybe some other immigrant kid, hoping against hope that he's not alone, can find a bit of solace in knowing that some day, he too can have such wonderful friends, who stand up and interrupt hatred when they see it.

If I weren't out, Katie wouldn't have had the opportunity to have been part of my life, because I'd be so scared of making even so innocuous a thing as a friend that I'd keep myself locked away.

Please, for your sake and the sake of others after you, be out. Be proud of who you are, and what you stand for.

It's late, and I'm mentally clumsy, but I felt like I had to get that little bit of encouragement out there for anyone who can read this.