I realized a few months ago after being in close quarters with a friend and her mother as they battled out whether or not gay people were going to hell, that even though I'm not Catholic as they are, I found myself crazily religiously upset about being gay for several hours afterwards.
This is a pattern though.
Of being noticeably affected by the adverse manifestos people have and tell me about regarding sexual orientation.
Last week I was driving my Grandma to an appointment, and she was talking about those homosexuals... Now, my Grandma is not anti-gay, but she's not exactly pro-gay either. Basically, what I got out of her telling me about homosexual this and homosexual that, was that she thought being gay wasn't perverted or out of the ordinary particularly, and that she was fine with people being in gay relationships - however, she was vehement about how she didn't understand why gay people had to FLAUNT their gayness, and make a big deal of telling their family or other people about their sexual orientation.
I didn't really respond to that. Much.
I got home and thought of exactly what it was I had wanted to say to her, but I wouldn't have said it, because I'm not out to her, and it was far too personal for me to not say in a personal manner:
So are gay people just supposed to let people think they're heterosexual and undergo teasing about "why don't you have a boyfriend?," "when you get married to so and so and have children...," and other such teasings, which wouldn't be so painful, except that they ARE painful, because they're based on a reality that doesn't exist. I wanted to say, "hey Grandma, don't you see the emotional freedom for someone to be who they really are beyond and including their sexual oreintation, once they don't feel like they are living a lie anymore??!"
Of course, she didn't seem to understand / buy the whole "living a lie" thing either, judging from the part of the conversation where she brought up a man she had known for a long time, who came out to his family in his 60s after having been divorced for years. She just didn't understand why he had to "deal with his personal guilt" like that or whatever ... I guess that's what it really comes down to. She doesn't mean to be mean. But she doesn't understand the emotions of it all. Not very much atleast.
Anyway, where I was going with this whole thing was setting the stage for what happend to me after my initial irritation with my Grandma:
I went into all this self-questioning and insecurity about flaunting gayness, etc... And being as a lot of my friends are gay, it made for some disfunctional interactions between me and everyone else last week, I just couldn't handle anyone, couldn't handle gay anything - basically I reverted back into some stage of not being OK with my own gayness, or of expressing my own gayness. Which is not the most fun place to be.
And I snapped out of it yesterday sometime.
And I realized, this happens to me kind of a lot.
Happened to me shortly after I came out to my parents too, when my mom told me there wasn't really such thing as gay people, and then I tried not to be gay for several months.
I am so affected by the negative things people say about homosexuality.
It's really hard to be so sensitive to it.
I was telling all of this to one of my straight friends last night. And then I tried to link it to how insecure I am about being gay still living in my house with my family. Because here, although no one's really THAT biggoted anymore, still, it's really not OK to be gay here. And when my friend came back from her college for a weekend this fall, I hung out at her house with her family for a while. I used to hang out there all the time, and it was the most liberating feeling, and going home was always hard, because I needed to be in a different mindset there, because it's just a different atmosphere. But I hadn't been to her house in a long time, and as I sat there, I thought - holy shit, it's OK to be gay here, her parents honestly don't care, don't do a double take, don't have a different way of treating people because of various sexual oreintations. And it was this amazing feeling that I could just relax, and live as myself not with walls up, sitting there.
Even though I'm out to most of my immediate family at home, and they're all relatively accepting of it, I still have so many defenses up all the time, for incidents such as with my friend and her mother and with my Grandma last week. ... Because those sort of remarks and manifestos from other people hurt so bad even with all of the defenses I try to brace myself with. And to be in someone's warm living room where I can just drop those defenses, because I'm finally around people that I really genuinely trust, it is such a relief, and I realize all of the energy and effort that I am constantly putting into being OK in situations where it’s not just OK to be.
When I came home from my friends house that evening, I cried.
What I need so much is not for people to tell me or allow me to overhear all of the reasons they think homosexuality is or may be wrong or all of the reasons that they have a problem with gay people. What I need is for people to tell me it’s OK to be who I am. It’s not being gay that’s the problem. It is the people who have the problem with being gay that make a problem for those who are gay. I just want it to be OK again. I want to feel safe and relaxed for more than just some random evening one semester.