I remember a time way back in grade school when being called gay meant your peers wanted you to see yourself as being very limp-wristed and feminine. I say they wanted you to see yourself as that not because they actually saw you in that light, but because you were different, and it was the only way they knew to describe that difference. Being gay back then meant, in their minds, as having to conform to the stereotype. I was definitely gay, just not the stereotype, which confused everybody, including myself.

I remember a time back in college when people were pointed out and it was whispered that they were gay. It was often said with disgust, and with a sad nod of the head, as if the person whispered about had unwisely chosen to pursue homosexuality like they had their major course of study. The solution agreed upon by folks doing the whispering was one of turning to God for guidance and salvation.

I remember when I first started dating my husband, when we were discovering what a real relationship between us—two men—meant both to our lives and to each other, and the giddiness we felt. There were so few people we could share this with, and we constantly had to fear those around us even thinking we were a couple. Family couldn’t know, most friends couldn’t know, roommates couldn’t know, and co-workers certainly couldn’t know.

And I remember when things started to change.

I remember when voices finally started to speak up and state that homosexuality wasn’t a choice, that it was a normal part of life. We were a normal part of life. I remember when friends started looking at us as a real life couple, and treated us as they themselves had been treated as a heterosexual couple. Attitudes began to evolve, and it usually started with people who had a family member come out as gay. One couldn’t call someone else a fag or some other name without being reminded of their own flesh and blood.

I remember when domestic partnership benefits were introduced, and my boyfriend and I started to feel like we mattered in the bigger world. We’d joked about the idea of getting married one day without ever realizing it could be a reality, that it would ever actually happen. We mused what it would be like to look at each other and say the word “husband”, knowing it was legal and true.

I remember when the day came we did get married, and then my little brother and his partner got married several months later. The looks on our faces can never be forgotten. Those feelings don’t go away. And then, quite suddenly, the state of Michigan had to recognize the marriage my husband and I sealed in New York. We couldn’t be discriminated against for what we are; human beings. We couldn’t be discriminated against for who we are to each other; spouses.

I remember in the beginning of this November when we were put on notice that things were going to change. We were going to be discriminated against, and it was going to be put into law. There was going to be a push to undo the part of our life together as spouses. We were going to be pushed back down into second class citizenship yet again.

And I will remember the fight that challenges these changes every…single…step of the way.

Views: 90

Comment by koshersalaami on November 17, 2016 at 6:51am

And you will not be alone. 

Comment by JMac1949 Today on November 17, 2016 at 7:02am

The single most destructive effect of the Trump Presidency will be how many appointments he will make to the Federal courts in the first two years.  Hopefully in 2018 the Dems may gain a majority in the Senate, but even then it will likely last and affect all our lives for then next thirty years.

Comment by Foolish Monkey on November 17, 2016 at 7:35am

KA, you're not alone.  You should know that - it's not a matter of what's acceptable or legal - it's about what's right and by right I say fundamentally right, basically right, decent and true.  Love is right.

But then I almost coined the cliche' - "and hate is wrong".  But the people who would shove you two back in a closet somewhere don't necessarily hate you.  some do, this is a fact.  but whatever the reason - ignorance, delusion, political encouragement, extreme fundamentalism - they believe you don't have the right to be the person you are.  some of them think it's only a matter of realignment and rethinking...a little prayer and therapy and viola! the het emerges.  But it IS destructive and hateful to create "others" in one's mind (and prayers).

Fuck them.  We won't go backwards.  This country moves forward because time moves forward.  No one can change how children are learning and seeing the world in front of them, more and more acceptance of the beautiful pluralist society we are.  I think growing up in an age where every conceivable way of living one's life has been shown on TV and celebrated by SOMEone.  We accept that we accept.  

Look at the children walking down the streets, these ragtag clusters of multirace multisexual variety. it's happening.  perhaps slowly but we don't go backwards.  WE WON"T.

hugs.

Comment by Terry McKenna on November 17, 2016 at 8:32am

Growing up close to NYC, we often heard about weirdos in rhe Village. And in the mid 1960s, my father would take us (teen boys) to Washington Square to see the art festival.  We would occasionally see a man in a raincoat and presumably no clothers underneath, or two men holding hands (rare) or a man dressed like Jesus Christ.  

On TV, David Suskind would have various "weirdos" on from representatives of the matachine society to sex change folks, to proponents of free love.  

For us, the notion that some folks were "weird" seemed a simple given.  Of course over time, we learned of people's pain.  

Our parents never commented, never stopped us from watching late night TV.

Once the three teen boys went to Harlem to see the Apollo.  It was a show of old R&B.  My father was deeply disappointed that all we did was went to see music.  He assumed we were seeing a "girlie" show.  

Comment by Zanelle on November 17, 2016 at 9:40am

Oh, this breaks my heart, Kage. Your love is so sweet and I hope the world doesnt go backwards...there will be fights to come...maybe Trump will have a change of heart. Having the future so uncertain for so many is not the way I wanted this election to go. Thank you so much for writing.

Comment by Kage Alan on November 17, 2016 at 10:11am

My husband described the political system as a pendulum. It swung one way with Bill Clinton, then another with George W., then back with Obama, and now the other way with Trump. What I'm not liking are the folks who feel because Trump won that it's open season on the community. 

This was on a news site I read this morning: 

A senior citizen in Sarasota, Fla., says a stranger physically attacked him because he’s gay, and cited president-elect Donald Trump as sanctioning the abuse.

“He kept saying, ‘You know my new president says we can kill all you faggots now,'” according to 75-year-old Chuck Redding. “It’s absolutely horrendous,” he said.

Comment by nerd cred on November 17, 2016 at 10:12am

There was a gay kid in the public school I attended for one year. He was a cheerleader in a school where real boys played hockey. There certainly hadn't been a boy cheerleader in decades. He was popular, well-liked.

I occasionally think I may have gone through childhood and adolescence partly oblivious but I really think most kids knew and accepted that he was gay. Not that I'll make the effort to dig out the yearbook and see if he had been some kind of dance "royalty" and took a girl. I just don't remember it being an issue. Obviously, whatever there was would have been more visible to him than to me. I wasn't in his circle, avoided popular kids in groups.

A serious hate incident would have been talked about by everyone, though. That was 1966-67.

Then two of my nieces who voted for trump put a favorable comment about him on one of my fb posts. I asked in reply if they were ok with their cousin Katie's marriage being annulled by the federal government.  What if they invalidated her adoption of the two girls?

Katie is the gay niece with the most adorable family - I seriously risk Blonde Blindness every time I see her family pictures on fb. Smiles like you've never seen, the five of them radiate happiness and they're all so damn blonde!

The other girls said, oh, they would never do that. I said, read up on that demon Mike Pence. Because they voted for trump but, like their father, don't know a damn thing about anything.

Comment by Anna Herrington on November 17, 2016 at 10:21am

This is really beautiful, Kage. I'm reminded of my sister in the '80s, surreptitiously holding hands with her girlfriend until they stepped outside, immediately dropping hands and stepping three feet apart. I'll never forget, it was the day I really realized her reality. Today, I just don't know what to think about the future in this country, this world, it's stunning.

May love prevail.

We may have to stand up and fight for it.

Comment by Rosigami on November 17, 2016 at 11:53am

This is so important. The message of hate and intolerance can't be allowed to prevail. As always. you've written with clarity, compassion, and insight. As the mother of 3 queer kids I will always stand up for them and the rights they deserve as much as any other person in society.

Comment by Kage Alan on November 17, 2016 at 12:07pm

Thank you to everyone who read and commented on this. These aren't the sort of posts I typically write since I much prefer to see a lighter side of things, but I'm struggling to find the light in any of this right now. 

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