Saturday, July 30, 2005

I'm Coming Out!

For many people, coming ‘out of the closet’ (revealing your sexuality) can be a difficult task to do; for others, it may just come natural. Depending on your parents and how they were raised, it may affect the way they consume all the information that they’re about to absorb. Religion has a lot to do with it in most cases. “It’s wrong, it’s an abomination, God hates the sin, but loves the sinner.”---yada yada yada! In my personal opinion and as a Christian myself, I believe that each and everyone of us on this earth falls short in the glory of God, that is why God is a forgiving God; He loves us equally. There is a scripture in the bible that says, “How terrible it would be if a newborn baby said to its father and mother, ‘Why was I born? Why did you make me this way?’” ~Isaiah 45:10 To me, what this scripture basically says, is that God made us perfect. How can we even think God has made mistake? There are many scriptures that refer to homosexuality as being an abomination, being wrong and being a sin. Most of those scriptures are written in the Old Testament which is just that—old… I don’t mean to disrespect the Jewish beliefs, but being a Christian, I believe that Jesus has set us free and we are made right in His eyes. For other religions it may be different or it may be similar to what I believe in. I don’t mean to disregard any other religion or belief; I am just making a point that we are ‘okay’ in God’s eyes…

A lot of gays and lesbians get depressed; almost to the point of suicidal thoughts thinking that God doesn’t love them. What kind of message are we sending to our kids? People convey this strong urge to make our own children feel bad about who they are as a person---what they were born as. We have to come to terms with parents and other people who are ‘old school’ and who strictly are set in their ways due to their background. I know for most people it’s a matter of finding ‘the one’ first, then making an attempt to come clean about who they really are to their family and friends. Sometimes we might as well just stay in the closet due to who we end up with! For a lot of people, it’s not worth the agony of putting your parents through this massive thought process---“Well what made her this way? Did we do this to her? Didn’t I show her I loved her enough? Did I not show them the right path? Am I a bad parent?”

No…no…and no! Parents have to stop feeling this sense of guilt just because their child is gay. This has nothing to do with the parents. It is definitely genetic. Look back into your family history. Was there a relative that was homosexual? Being gay is like being born with alcoholism in your family. (Bad analogy, I know) You can either play the cards you were born with, or you can simply choose to deny those feelings, cravings and choose the other. Think of this--you’re born, you grow up in your teens and you find out you love alcohol way too much; therefore becoming an alcoholic like Uncle Bob. Same holds true for homosexuality. Your great aunt was gay—leaving the gene pool to hold a bit more of the gay gene floating around. It runs in the family so to speak. Even if one doesn’t recall a relative being gay, there had to be some sort of gene that slipped its way through. This is debatable and can be argued. A lot of people think it’s a choice rather than a genetic nature. I know alcohol is a bad choice to make due to the genetic source, but the ‘gay gene’ travels the same route as well. Worse case scenario is you come out to your parents, and then they start drinking after they hear the news!

There is a theory that some people assume which bothers me to no end. “Oh she must have been sexually abused when she was younger.” What is that??? Do you know how many people were sexually abused when they were younger, yet they still lead a heterosexual lifestyle? We have to stop blaming and start accepting. Let me get back on a lighter note here… It’s as if every therapist or psychiatrist has it all figured out. They point the finger at the parents. “Well how was your life as a child?” Get out of my face and analyze someone else! My psychologist that I was seeing a few years ago was determined that I was sexually abused in some sort of shape or form. I assured her that my childhood while growing up had nothing but good memories. Oh yeah, must have blocked all those horrible memories out- I’m sorry, I just don’t agree with that. There are traumatic events that our brains cause us to block out, but subconsciously we can sense who did what---regardless of what they did. When I want to calm down, I think of my childhood. For that I am grateful; I’m fortunate to have had such a wonderful family surrounding while growing up. This therapist was determined to get the dirt out of me even if it meant to hypnotize me! Are you crazy? Now that is a question that is hardly asked to a psychologist. I am gay because I was born this way. I remember having crushes on the women who acted in soap operas at the age of four; I remember having crushes on my female teachers in my teen years and even on my close friends.

At the age of nine-teen I started seeing a girl who went to college. I was introduced to her by my best friend who went to the same school. My mother noticed that I was spending more weekends up at this college. She totally knew I wasn’t trying to get a better education… She knew when I was little, that I was gay—just by how I acted, dressed and had strong admirations for mainly females. When I told her I was gay, came out to her and told her I had a girlfriend that I was seeing—she suggested I see a therapist to see if I could change. She was a bit upset about this and thought it was ‘just a phase’. My mother had a cousin who was gay, his name was Anthony. She loved him very much. He would dress up drag and teach my mother how to put on make up. As far as Anthony being a homosexual, my grandmother would always say, “Oh things could be worse!” Unfortunately he passed away from AIDS.

My grandmother never knew I was gay, but as far as making a comment regarding my second cousin, that made me feel at ease. I thought that she would detest the fact that I was homosexual. “Don’t tell your fatha!” in that Brooklyn accent. She told me not to even say one word about it to him. My father is an old fashioned Italian man who lived with his wife and four daughters. Would it have been different if I was a boy? I’m not sure. One afternoon, as I was sitting with my dad watching the gay parade on television, my father says to me, “Wouldjya’ look at all these fairies prancing around?” I gave him a look and said to him in a jokingly manner, “Dad, you have four daughters, all of them are either married or have a boyfriend…don’t you think that one of them would slip through the cracks?” He turns to me and says in his Brooklyn accent, “Wha???--you a fairy?”
“Well, I’m gay dad. Madelene is the girl I’m dating.”
“Well das great! Whuta' nice girl! Hey- ya better off!”
he said as he waved his hand up in the air to brush off any thoughts of being with a man.
“What did ya mutha say? Does she know?” he asked.
“Yeah dad, she knows…she thinks I should see a psychologist.”
“Why is she gay too?”
he laughed and made it known that it was no big deal. The one person I feared coming out of the closet to had accepted me better than anyone else. Imagine, an old fashioned Italian man who is Catholic accepting my homosexual lifestyle.

A lot of people wait for the perfect time to tell their parents. Most think the perfect time is when they are dating someone more than six months or so. I think that’s a wise choice; I also think it’s even braver to come out all alone and see what happens—but this may wreak havoc on your life. What about the workplace? Discreet is the key. Why do I even say that? Well, for me, once I was ‘outed’, I had a lot of curious wonders asking me out for happy hour. You’ll get those women who will turn you into their personal guinea pig—or at least try to. Most of them are usually married with three kids and a baby on the way! Total package, huh? Total baggage if you ask me. Some leave their husbands for this fascinating lifestyle, and some just go right back to their husbands. The wise thing is to not even entice these ladies or flirt with the idea of satisfying their curiosity. They’ll eat you up and spit you right back out, leaving you hurt and deeply depressed. How do I know? I’ve been there… That is not a fun route to take if you are 100% homosexual seeking your soul mate. If you are bi and you want to have something on the side, well fine. Good luck with that.

Getting back to the workplace, you can only draw a curious crowd who wants to draw near to you, or you can get people who are very judgmental and want nothing to do with you whatsoever. The company I worked for had a number of ‘hens’ I used to go to school with. They already knew the fact that I was gay. When I received roses at work, no one asked who they were from due to the fact they feared me saying, “Oh it’s from my lover!” I just got smirks and weird stares. It was quite awkward. I managed to intrigue my boss who I worked for. She was ‘too’ interested in me and wanted to take me into the city to a play with her husband and her mother. I thought this was a safe haven so I went. Lynn, my boss was a nice girl, kind of on the shy side but always seemed to flirt with me a lot in the office. I never assumed that she was gay, but her demeanor and disposition told me otherwise. Her husband at home left me to believe another story. I was confused. Needless to say we got into this steamy affair that left us crazy for one another. We couldn’t be separated and ended up falling for each other. When it got too much, she withdrew and basically left me hanging. I was hurt, but it was expected. I had to quit my job due to the fact that it was so uncomfortable working for her. Never again will I get myself into a tangled web as I did that time.