Sunday, April 02, 2017 – (Grab a cup ‘o something. This one is a commitment.)
Today I am grateful for prom couples. Yes, prom season is in full force. Facebook is full of pictures of beautiful young couples all dressed up and ready to go out and play grown-up for a night. I love them all, but especially the picture I included today, because it sets a precedent for inclusion and acceptance. (And yes, I have permission from all parties involved to use it.)
“Couples.” What an interesting term. There are all kinds of couples. In my world. . .MY America, most of the people I know celebrate those differences. And why not? Love knows no boundaries, just like hate. We learn how to do both when we are very, very young. We also learn acceptance and empathy. If we’re lucky. Not all of us are.
I graduated from high school in 1968 in a mid-sized town in Wisconsin. We didn’t have black people in our town and I’m pretty sure that back then the powers-that-be would also say we didn’t have any gay people, either. And since that is idiotic to even consider being true, those who were gay probably spent their lives hiding undercover, living a double life, just to get by. How sad. For them and for us.
I don’t know if I was friends with any gay girls or boys because no one talked about it back then. Did they want to or was the shame of secrecy so great that they tamped their natural, God given feelings down like wet sand? I don’t know. I’m sure they were scared. I’m sure they felt excluded and lonely. And all of this just for knowing exactly who they were. How sad. Again. For them and us.
I wonder how they felt going to dances, prom and other social events with someone of the opposite sex just to keep up appearances? I wonder if they were lonely in their secret like so many who have secrets are? I wonder if they feared their parents would disown or hate them if they came out? I wonder how they made it through the days pretending they were someone they were not? The burden of not being who you are weighs heavily.
The 1960’s were a different time, with less information and acceptance on a lot of issues. Assassinations put a red stain on the ‘60’s. Vietnam was taking my friends. The draft terrified every guy I knew. Maybe we wouldn’t have been able to digest the fact that some of our girlfriends were lesbians, or our guy friends were gay. I don’t know and I’m not proud about that, either. I was a different person back then, so I’m not sure how I would have reacted if they had come out. But I know who I am now. No doubt about it.
Times have changed. The prejudices I was taught in childhood have been replaced by the truth as I now know it. My truth. And the truth of so many others who fight childhood beliefs with adult common sense and plain old education. Now I KNOW I have dear friends who are gay, both male and female and I celebrate their friendships with the same intensity that I celebrate all of my friendships. One can never have too many friends.
Recently someone asked me if it bothered me to see affection between people of the same sex? My answer was that affection between any people doesn’t bother me. As long as they are not fornicating on my front lawn what does it matter? People are people. Affection is affection. Love is love.
I do think I could do without most of the graphic sexual escapades in the movies, but I’m talking about ALL types of sex. I prefer movies in the days when the water rushed up on the couple lying in the sand and the screen faded to black. You knew they were going to screw like rabbits but you didn’t have to see every dimple while they did it, or watch them slam each other up against a wall in fake, violent passion. Enough with that already! Fade to black.
I would not want a gay child of mine to enter into a physical relationship when they are not ready, any more than I’d want a heterosexual child of mine to enter into a straight sexual relationship when they are not ready. Being truly intimate with someone is not just a great joy, it’s a huge responsibility. Gay or not.
I had a very, very dear friend who died many years ago who “practiced” coming out on me before telling his family. We were not kids, but I was still very stupid and said, “Are you sure?” Of course, he was. He had been for a very long time. Most kids (and parents) get an inkling of this long before reality sets in. He was such a good friend that I could speak frankly with him and ask him anything. During the course of one of our long discussions, I asked what he wanted in a relationship? “I just want to find someone to love, who loves me, who doesn’t mind if we sit home and watch a movie together, holding hands on the couch.” Funny thing is, that’s what many of us want, gay or not. See, it isn’t only about sex. It’s about connection on a deeper level. Comfort. Love.
That’s why I want gender equality for everyone, all the time! I want it to be a non-issue! And I want young people who want to be with males. . . or females. . . or those who aren’t yet sure. . .to be exactly who they are. And go wherever they want to as a couple. Especially to prom.