My mother and father married in the late 60s and it was a short-lived marriage. Both my parents love me and I never doubted that for one minute. To this day, I have a great relationship with both my mother and father.
When I was nine, my mother moved us from Maryland to California. We lived with roommates for the first couple of years. My mother was interviewing a potential roommate, and I remember we had a huge walk-in closet in the living room. I was in the closet, walking around, listening in on the interview.
The person who was talking to my mother was male and they were going back and forth with questions. I distinctly remember hearing him say, “I’m gay.” I had never had any experience with gay people that I knew of. I knew what gay meant, but I was ten years old. When he said “I’m gay,” my reaction was so dramatic. I stopped in my tracks and froze with shock. I have no idea why I was so shocked. I had never heard anyone speak about homosexuality in a negative way but in my ten year-old-brain, I knew it was scandalous!!! I laugh now as I remember literally stopping in my tracks, as if what he said was going to reverse the earth’s gravitational pull. Now, I can see where someone with no tolerance would argue that my first reaction might be the accurate one. But to know me is to know I am always dramatic. When I first discovered I got my period, I was HORRIFIED and prayed that my discovery was really something that many who are reading this would be grossed out by, so I will spare you the details. When I was a virgin, everything about sex shocked me. EVERYTHING was shocking and I thought it was so scandalous. Isn’t funny and ironic that I am now a liberal slut?
For a year, “Steve” was our roommate. In typical fashion, something that seemed scandalous to me one day was old news and boring the next. Steve not only proved to be a great living companion, but the experience of living with an openly gay, proud man was an education in tolerance and acceptance for me. Steve took me to work with him one day and showed me off. He treated me with love, kindness and respect. I didn’t think of him as “gay Steve.” I thought of him as “Steve.”
My mom, Steve and I would occasionally spend time together socially. We’d all go to dinner or spend the entire day together on Saturday and I only have positive memories. If my mother ever argued with him, I never knew about it. I can’t say the same for a female roommate we had. Steve was my first real introduction to homosexuality and it was a positive one. He never discussed his sex life with me and if he had dates, he never invited them over and I never met any of them. I don’t know if this was to “protect” me, I really wouldn’t have cared. The point is, Steve was mindful that he lived with a ten year-old girl and wanted to make me feel comfortable. He did. He showed me that being gay isn’t negative or positive in and of itself, it’s just another part of the human experience.
Today, the Supreme Court hears gay marriage arguments and has the power to do what is right. To grant gay people the right to marry. I really hope they do. The reasons they wouldn’t would be religious—and that would be unconstitutional— fear or hatred. Fear. Fear of what? Fear that you will now become gay? Fear that the gays will take over the world? Fear that if gay people marry, it will have anything to do with your marriage? The last and most depressing reason is hatred. But it all really just means that certain people are afraid of things they don’t understand. I find that to be a sad and embarrassing trait of human beings, and I work everyday to remove the barriers that fear/hate mongering bigots put up because they can’t handle reality.
I am an activist for women’s rights, but first and foremost, I am for human rights. I hope the Supreme Court helps America join the 21st century. I hope that gay people have the rights that heterosexual people have. Not allowing gay people the same choices as everyone else is nothing more than a sad, willfully ignorant expression of the refusal to accept what is!
I have always loved that when I learned Steve was gay, I was literally in the closet.
Vive La Gay!!!