When I was just a little gay boy, my mother taught me to mend my speech impediment, my lisp. I knew I was different from then on, but my understanding of what I knew I was hadn’t yet come full circle. She told me many years later that she taught me that to save me from a world of pain and suffering. The world when she grew up, where being a sexual minority wasn’t a thing; of course it was shameful, shunned, and unacceptable – something she couldn’t imagine as her son. And it was definitely not something about which one could be proud. But things have changed over the last thirty years. Today we live in a world of extremes; where unconditional love can finally have a say while under hateful attack.
When I was just a little gay boy, I did what my mother said. But over time, I decided to love myself exactly the way nature intended. I stopped changing for others, placating the status quo and a heteronormative society – I became myself. In my years as a gay man I have done very little for the benefit of my community. Though, I have never hid myself. I have been afraid to come out; but I have come out. And with each step toward the open vista that is now my life, being me and being proud has gotten easier. But I’m well aware that this march to reclaim an egalitarian cosmic right to exist is far from over. June 12th, 2016 will remind me of that every year for the rest of my life – and that’s all it will do.
It will not scare me into hiding.