na foine ting
Friday, March 19, 2004
Most days I don't feel gay.
I don't wake up in the morning and think: "wow, I'm gay."
Most days, in fact, I wake up and think "wow, it's early and why is there a Lego truck exploring the terrain of my feet and knees?"
I don't walk around with a sort of pink triangle consciousness. I live in a liberal area, so to a large extent, I feel like I'm just like everyone around me. Driving to work in my truck, thinking "wow, it's still early and God the blossoms are beautiful and *why* do I have to go to work today, exactly?" Just like everyone else.
Not: "Wow, I'm gay."
Every once and a while I get jarred out of my mainstream consciousness, though. Someone says "husband" and I correct "wife," or some credit card company or other argues with me about not being a spouse and so they won't talk to me about our credit card bill despite the fact that I'm the one who pays it.
These moments are few and far between, though. People treat me like they treat everyone else around them. As indifferently or badly or well, depending on the situation.
Some days, though, I feel gay.
Gay, isolated, different. The "them," the other. Some days I hear people around me talking about gay issues like I'm not in the room, discussing things like marriage and holding forth with their opinions like they have any actual stake. Or, conversely, like I don't.
Some days I'm the only gay voice in the room, trying to be reasonable and nonconfrontational, sometimes I'm extremely aware of representing a whole group of people who are being scrutinized, discussed and judged. I'm aware of what I say mattering hugely, of it having impact not just on me but on a huge group of people I don't even know.
I hold my tongue when someone starts on the "oh, I know a lesbian" or "my friend's cousin's mother is a lesbian and," understanding that it's meant to be reassuring and inclusive, though it feels exactly the opposite.
Or when someone starts in on me about Gavin and his development and male influence and how "all boys need a father."
I try to be understanding about my parents, about people close to me who were raised certain ways and sometimes struggle. I try to be understanding, to not take it personally, to not feel like their issues are somehow my fault.
I try to be an example to my son, who will have his own issues, and probably isn't even gay to begin with.
Some days I fail. Some days I know that my smile is tight rather than convincing. Sometimes someone quips about fags or makes a gay marriage joke in a regional conference call and I don't just sit there smiling. I get up and walk out of the room.
Because I'm human, in addition to being gay.
And not, in the end, able to be a shining political spokesmodel.
Some days I think:
"Wow. I'm gay."
And really, really angry."
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