Friday, October 11, 2013

Coming Out on Many Fronts - The Mini-Memoir of Me

I don't know if you'll share this but, I thought I'd make a stab at it anyway.  When I was very young, I was not sure why I was drawn to men.  I didn't understand it, I was confused about it, and honestly, women never did anything for me in any form.  When I was a teenager I tried to pretend I was attracted to women, had a girlfriend in High School and in College.

I came from a rather conservative and fundamentalist background, accepting the words they taught up to a point.  I was anti-gay, anti-gay marriage, anti-gay anything for a long time because I was told that’s how things were supposed to be if you wanted to be a “good Christian man”, even though I myself knew to some degree what I was.  I even got to chatting with a few guys online, deluding myself that I was just looking for friends, when, in fact, I was looking for a boyfriend, but didn't quite realize it.  I kept this facade up for a long time.

But alas, it was so not meant to be.  What did it for me was me and her were at a restaurant eating a late dinner.  One of the cooks came up to me and we chatted it up for about 45 minutes.  I felt real bad afterword cause she was left there in a dumbfounded silence as I engaged this guy (who was very attractive) in a rather intense conversation about theater and food.  Sadly he wasn't gay, but the experience opened my eyes quite a lot.  I had felt infinitely more comfortable talking to him and engaging him in discussions than I did with her.  And it wasn't because I didn't
care about her, but because the connection wasn’t there.

Also during my 2nd year at LCSC in Lewiston, ID…I had resided in a house where about 30 people lived.  It was an old convent turned into a dormitory with kitchen and common area.  Most the people were nice and quite reasonable to be around.  I had a roommate who was a unique character to say the least but, he was good at brightening my spirits with invitations to come drink and the occasional driving him for his weekend imprisonment for a few slaps on the hand things he did.  A few other friends lived there as well.  But one day when I was walking back from class, it was about October or November, and I had left my window cracked to let air in.  I had noticed something that wasn’t on my seat last time I drove.  I remember it quite vividly.  Something designed to embarrass you or expose you before you’re ready or intimidate you never really goes away.  Someone had decided it would be funny to drop gay porn into my car.  And brightly as in front of God and everyone, had been a gay porn DVD.  Never in my life had I felt more dread and intimidation than that moment, knowing someone had decided to behave so insensitively.  Now I know this doesn’t compare to others’ experiences, but, this was truly something I could never forget.  I grabbed the DVD and quickly deposited it into the dumpster outside the dorm, and brushed it off like it was nothing.  I continued on my way as I normally do, but now with a twinge of dread in the back of my mind.  I asked myself questions like “Is this the start of something?  Is it going to get worse?”  Thankfully it didn’t…but it easily could have.
Courage: 90% of resistance is cautionary.
~Shigeo Shingo

After that, I slowly worked up the courage to start coming out to people.  My friend, Barbara was the first
one I came out to, telling her I was Bi, partially cause I was still confused, but knew enough that I liked men, but still wasn't sure if women were off the table.  Then finally about a year after that, I and a guy met onlin
e.  We decided to drive 8 hours to meet each other.  Oh we felt such a chemistry with each other, our chats were passionate, we loved each other’s pictures, and so, we decided to meet in the middle.  After finally meeting in our Motel, it literally was love at first sight.  We spent two amazing days together talking and cuddling and truly expressing our feelings to each other.  When we parted, I felt like he took a part of me with him, and him with me.  For a few days after that, every time I touched my arm, it felt like he was touching me, like the way we caressed in bed together.  We carried on with each other from a distance for eight months until we finally broke it off.  Neither of us could get away to see each other, and he was still closeted.  It broke my heart for a while…but I gathered my strength and moved on.  We still talk on occasion, but, I’m not expecting us to try again anytime soon.

The next chapter of my adult life started in 2009, when I entered Evergreen to finish my Bachelor’s degree.  The Evergreen State College is renowned with having one of the most active and vibrant college gay and lesbian groups in the nation.  As a centerpiece of social justice, I was drawn to the discussions about social justice.  Even bombarded with messages about full equal rights for LGBT Couples, I still sharply questioned the position, trying to be one of those (in my mind) people who take the road of least resistance and wanted to build a bridge between the two opposing viewpoints.   Looking back on the position, I can see now why I was so wrong in its viewpoint.  Though I don’t feel I was wrong for trying to find common ground.

Evergreen actually took this picture and made it a postcard
After I graduated in 2011, I
was politically active for the Republican Party, believing 100% in the views that given the freedom, the market will provide and everyone will have everything.  I voted fervently for most of the Republican candidates on the ticket in 2010 (trust me, I STRONGLY regret it to this day), and continued to try to build bridges of common view.  I argued fervently that government isn’t evil, but it should back off, and just let things work that can work, and control things it should control.  With the recent tea-publican menace worming its way into the party, such views were not accepted easily.

So finally, 2012 comes around, and I’m proudly wearing my Romney sticker on my car, and hanging on the words of both candidates passionately, absorbing their talking points, each of them…and what finally was the straw that broke the Camel’s back…”You didn’t build that….” Taken out of context over and over and over again, into utter absurdity.  At this point, I am totally disillusioned as to why I’m even supporting this party any more.  I took a hard long look at myself in the mirror and started inventorying my views.  I compared them aggressively against the party platforms of both parties.  Now I know my history.  I know what kind of damage church and state together can cause.  I know what kind of damage unregulated greed can cause, and I know from my Bible, that government is NOT evil but an arm of justice (See Romans 13 for a detailed scripture reference).  I was also pro-choice even before this as a Republican, because I believed that each circumstance bears a different level of morality…and it is not the place of the state to hold women prisoners in their own bodies by legislatively stripping women of this right to choose to reproduce…despite my personal views on abortion.  So finally, I started reading more.  End This Depression NOW! – By Paul Krugman, as well as his other books: The Conscience of a Liberal and A Return to Depression Economics.  I tore through all three books hanging on his every word…and it suddenly occurred to me, that I am a 100% Democrat.  If this was so on economics, and mostly on social issues, then, it would make sense.

In addition to coming out to my parents as gay, I also came out
to them as a 100% Dark Blue Liberal...which I think actually was harder for them to understand than me coming out as gay.  Looking back on my life, my experiences, my interactions with others, and finally, my faith…I understand more than ever why equality is important to me.  To me, coming out was the way that I could be truly an individual.  An individual with pride about who and what I am.  Throughout the last few years, I have continuously buried myself in history, in culture, and in science as best as I can understand it, to better understand what it means to be Gay.  To break it down to the simplest of explanations: Being Gay is nature’s way of creating uniqueness in an otherwise homogeneous world.  Instead of women, I love men.  And by love men, I mean I desire their companionship, their presence, their passion, their touch, their shoulder, their voice, their eyes, and finally, their unconditional Love.  Not “Love Because” or “Love IF”, but “Love PERIOD.”  Love without limit, reason, purpose, or condition.  The kind of love that would thrust me into a gunshot or throw myself on top of him.  The kind of love that Jesus gives us every day:  “Love Period.”

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