“Hey Ed, seems like you're writing an awful lot about gay rights these days? People are starting to talk. Are you a queer?” -Jon
Not that it's any of your business, Jon, but if I were gay you'd know it. I'd be proud of it. And I'd be good at. I'd be the best damn gay in America: I'd bartend in all the hippest fem bars, wear all the crazy fem colors, say “You go, girl!” to all my fem friends and give these legendary blowjobs that'd make you go blind. Oh yes, Jon, if I were gay, you would know all about it. But I'm not.
I remember the day I discovered I was heterosexual.
Of course, I was always heterosexual. I just didn't know it had a name until I started hearing the kids in school talking about this other breed of human beings called homosexuals. I learned that homosexuals were filthy, awful, rotten people who did rotten, rotten, awful, filthy things to each other and the best way to deal with them was to banish them from your clique, expose them as freaks to the entire school and drive them to the brink of suicide.
But then came the day when I found myself asking a terrifying question: “What if I am gay?” I was about 16 years old and sitting in my room, on my bed, thinking about my pal, Paul. People were “starting to talk” about Paul, and the long, ugly process of his exile was beginning. So I was sitting there trying to come up with tactful ways to terminate our friendship without hurting his feelings (how humane of me) and got to thinking how terrible it must be for him-how terrible to be losing your friends, and what if his parents ever found out, and oh man I could never tell my parents-thank Christ I'm not gay. Wait a minute... how do I know I'm not gay? I never tried it before. So how do I know I wouldn't like it? And if I do like it, does that automatically make me gay? Could I be gay? Holy Jesus Mother of Christ, what if I'm gay?
I had to find out.
So I scrunched my face with anxiety and began the agonizing process of envisioning myself in some horrifying homosexual entanglement-hoping with all my hope that I would not find even the smallest part of it appealing. At first I imagined that it was with a friend, but that vision was too revolting to even consider. So I quickly replaced him with some unknown imaginary male, which was only slightly less revolting, and imagined myself on my knees, preparing to unzip this unknown imaginary male's fly, and-and just before his phallus could flop out before me, my eyeballs started sparking and my ears started smoking and my brain short-circuited and the whole torrid anti-fantasy shut down.
Whoop-ee! I thought. I'm straight, I'm straight! What a relief. I felt like jumping and dancing about and singing the “I'm not gay” song: “I'm not gay/ I'm not gay/ Hooray for me/ I'm so not gay.
Today I was watching that MTV reality show, True Life. The episode was titled, “I'm Coming Out.” It documented four or five closeted homosexuals, mostly young, who were about to reveal themselves to their loved ones. They all went through one familial wringer or another, but the parent who enraged me the most was this one woman who told her freshly outed son that being gay was contagious, like a disease, and that he could be cured and all this other ridiculous Dark-Ages bullshit, and I just thought, Wow, what a pathetic witch you are. That's your son!
You know, being childless, I am certainly no expert on child rearing. But I know one thing-if I had a son and he told me he was gay, I'd say, “You go, girl!”
I'd say, “Atta way to have the strength to be different and the courage to declare it.” Then I'd take him on a shopping spree. We'd come home with bags and bags-full of all the great gay clothes with all the great gay colors. And a stack of CDs from all the great new gay bands, like Rave Against the Machine or Lollipop 6. And a dozen or so homo how-to books and manuals. And subscriptions to gay magazines with articles like, “Going Gay in 10 Easy Steps” or “What to Do When Your Fag-Hag Becomes Unruly.” Then, when he was ready, I'd nudge him toward the front door and say, “Now go on out there and be the best damn queer you can be!”
Not in my wildest dreams would I make him to feel a freak as that troll on True Life did. To reject your son now, when he needs you most, will do more damage to his psyche than every gay-bashing baboon he will encounter for the rest of his life.
This is why I write about gay rights, Jon. Because of women like that. Because of guys like you. Because it's the right thing to do. Because at this very moment there is a huge group of our fellow Americans being discriminated against right under our noses, and I'm going to be writing about how totally and utterly fucked that is for as long and as often as I like.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and editor@ SDcitybeat.com.