Am I Afraid To Be Gay?

 

 

pride love me

 

The horrific and unfathomable events that occurred recently in Orlando have shaken not only the LGBQT community but people from different cultures and religions around the world. Regardless of gender, sexual preference, skin color, culture or faith, human beings have a few things in common, one of them being fear. Fear incites the same reactions globally as it triggers the innate instinct of flight or fight. We either retreat in doubt of our safety or wellbeing or we stand up, band together and raise our voices, determined not to be oppressed by hatred or ignorance. What incites another human being to be so afraid of something that their fear turns into hatred so deep, a vile act like the Orlando tragedy can happen? That is a question we may never know the true answer for, all we can do is speculate based on the media and our personal biases. For me personally, I choose not to give the perpetrator another thought, as he simply is not worth the mind space that could be projecting love to the survivors and families of the deceased.

I was asked a question recently which was the prompt for this blog; “Am I scared for my life to be openly gay now” which then prompted me to think about not only that, but fear itself. First off, to answer the question… absolutely not! If anything this tragedy has infuriated me to raise my voice louder and speak for the souls that can no longer do so. I was initially hesitant about attending Toronto Pride due to the sheer numbers in attendance however, I will not change who I am, nor be silenced by anyone, strangers or family alike. I am who I am, regardless of what label you want to place on me and if you can’t accept that, you probably are already out of my life. As for being fearful for my life because of my openness, well that would involve being afraid to die, which I am not. When you spend the majority of your life with suicidal thoughts, the comfort of death outweighs the sense of fear the average person may have. For me, death is just a part of the life cycle and although there are ways of dying that scare me, the end result does not.

I have never had any fear of living an openly gay lifestyle as I am blessed to live in a multicultural country that is accepting of all people. We can legally marry, receive spousal insurance benefits and have the same rights as any other Canadian. That is not to say that everyone approves, there will always be haters but the greater percentage of the population believes in equal rights. The LGBQT communities here face less outward discrimination than is seen in many other countries, enabling a sense of freedom and creating a true sense of kinship.

The only true discrimination I have faced since “coming out” (funny I don’t recall I time I lived in a closet) was not from strangers, or even haters but from my family instead. After 25 years, my father has finally decided it is no longer a phase; my deceased mothers sister left me and my partner at the time standing on the front lawn rather than inviting us in the house, (They might get “the gay”, as if it is contagious) and my cousins on that side have not spoken to me in 23 years for the simple reason of being narrow minded. So basically, aside from two people, my entire family has cast me as the “lesbian black sheep”, which at first was extremely hurtful. Was I not the same person as I was five minutes before the words left my mouth? I certainly did not judge them for whatever goes on in their marriage and bedroom, which quite frankly is none of my business, as my sexual preference should not be theirs, and after a year or so trying to educate them and de-stigmatize the word “gay”, I gave up.

You cannot teach people who are not willing to learn. To learn, one needs an open mind, and to have an open mind, one needs to choose not to be ignorant, and that is just not teachable.

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Am I Afraid To Be Gay?

  1. I enjoyed hearing your facts and feelings as you put them forth on this blog.
    It is very sad for me to hear that your family members now won’t have anything to do with you. I have experienced this situation on a personal level. My youngest brother was ten years younger than me. I was extremely close to him because I helped care for him as a baby. I have another brother and sister, but they did not have this special bond that Bill and I shared. He developed many mental health issues as he got older due to being molested as a young boy and becoming addicted to drugs.

    I will never forget the day that I found out Bill was gay. (He delegated this job of informing me to a very close friend of both of us.) I can’t say that I was all that surprised, knowing all that he had been through in his short life time. I suppose he didn’t tell me himself because he knew that I am a very strong Christian. The Bible specifically states that God made woman for man and the two shall become as one. This is my belief system which I would hope the reader would not judge me for.

    This is very hard to write for me because I knew I would have to write about my brother. There are many things written in the Bible that God says are wrong, not just homosexuality. There are also no degrees of sin, i.e., being a liar, a thief, or committing adultery are all the same in God’s eyes. So, did I hate him now that I knew he was gay? Of course not! Who am I to judge my brother? I have done many, many things wrong in my lifetime! We came to the understanding that even if I did not agree with his lifestyle, our love bond was never shaken. My entire family accepted him as he was except for my sister, who is a “Christian” but one of those who can point the finger and hate! Even living in different states, Bill and I would get together. He flew to Colorado to spend time with me, and I took my 4 young kids to California to see him and his partner.

    He was kind, caring, loving, and generous to all people. He literally one day gave his only pair of shoes to another man in the park who had no shoes. So if you have noticed that I am talking about him in the past tense, he passed at the young age of 43 due to Aids. He had been HIV positive for 15 years. I spent a week with him in January; we were supposed to go out and do fun things in Calif. However, when I got there he was already hospitalized. I stayed the entire week with him visiting in the hospital. After two days, he was in isolation and I had to suit up with mask, heavy gown, and gloves because he had gone into tuberculosis aids. We had some good talks and laughs together talking about family stories. I had to fly back home to my children and my business. Within 3 weeks, my family was calling me and telling me “it was time”. I had to fly from Colorado to Palm Springs, CA to be with him when he passed. I just knew that he would wait for me. He couldn’t talk at all by this time. I didn’t care about the gloves or the mask; I wanted to be with him and hold his hand. We communicated with our eyes. After I had been there for two hours, he no longer had the strength to hold on. He left this earth to meet his Creator. I am crying as I write this.

    Jody, I’m so sorry – I didn’t mean for my reply to become a blog. I needed to share my very personal story with you so that you will know that I mean it when I say “I love a person for their heart”, not for their sexual preference. I feel that you have been a blessing in my life, and I thank you for that! Unfortunately, there will always be the haters and the people with closed minds.

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  2. Beautifully said. As the mother of an openly gay son who lives proudly, I say, “Yes!” My Sunday morning last was one of sorrow, and the fear I had for my son while he endured homophobia during high school, came back calling. Rage came back for a visit, too. In the ensuing week, those feelings softened into gratitude. My son is alive. I have written about my experience in an essay that was published this past February in Letting Go: An Anthology of Attempts. My essay, The Boy Who Saved Me, chronicles my attempt at letting go of fear and rage in order to live a life free of those emotions. I commend you, I honor you for writing this, and for living an authentic life.

    Liked by 1 person

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