Thursday, March 14, 2013

Who I am

The following is a companion piece to an article to be published in the Fall 2013 Salem Statement, the alumni magazine produced by Salem State University.

I'm gay. Let me explain what that means exactly, because I can almost guarantee that you've made some kind of assumption based off those two words. The only thing being gay means is that I generally find men more attractive than women.

What it doesn't mean is that I like the color pink, have sex with strangers, that I'm sassy or that I don't like sports. I happen to not like the color pink - it's too bright. I won't have sex with anyone unless I know their favorite color and what fruit they would be. While I have my bitchy moments, it's always done with love. And hockey is my favorite sport because it toes the lie between violence and grace.

What I'm trying to say is that I'm complex and there's more to me than my sexual identity. And yet, sometimes I feel like I'm reduce to simply being "the gay guy." Last July 4, I was hanging out with friends when one friend commented that she was innocent and had angel wings. I jokingly said, "Oh you have wings alright, but they're the leathery bat kind."

Without missing a bit, a third friend commented that I had fairy wings. But I don't, I'm not that kind of guy. The image doesn't really match up with my personality - at least I think so. I bring this up because on Monday I attended the second annual LGBT Elders in an Ever Changing World conference. There was a "Coming Out Late in Life" panel where four homosexual people shared their stories.

LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual) baby boomers are often called the silent generation because at that time there was rampant homophobia and being yourself could mean being fired, disowned, beaten and possibly murdered. And while those heinous crimes still happen today in America, at least now when it happens it causes an uproar

As a society, we've made huge leaps in acceptance in the last decade alone. However, I have to wonder, if people are still being boxed into one-dimensional cut-outs just based on sexual identity how far have we come? Sure it gone from intense hatred to an all encompassing acceptance, but I just want to be treated like a person. Nothing more, nothing less.


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