I got a very nice note from a young(er) gay friend who said “Thanks for being you when it wasn’t easy to be you.”
He’s right; it wasn’t easy. I won’t bore you with all the details of what I went through when I was a kid and knew I was gay when I didn’t know what being gay was and all the bullying and shit that I and every other queer kid went through. I made it through and came out — pun intended — with the scars, stories, and AA and Al-Anon chips to prove it, not to mention material for a lot of plays and at least (so far) one very long novel. I was fortunate to have supportive parents and meet a man who would change my life, and that helped make me what I am today.
Maybe it’s the Quaker influence, but I’ve never been one to indulge in “pride,” although I support unequivocally the concept of queer pride. After all, there is nothing at all wrong with being proud of conquering a lot of hate, bigotry, and institutional desiccation and achieve what has been denied for so long: a life led on one’s own terms. So I temper my pride in the quiet awareness that a lot of people of every segment of our society and civilization have suffered, died, and sacrificed so much to get to the point where I can write this simple note on a social media site and not think about what the neighbors will say or do, and hope to be an example to those who know me. So call it pride if you like.
But temper that with the awareness that it is not over. Court rulings and corporate awareness doesn’t change the fact that we are still human, subject to the fears and blindness that come with it. We’re still struggling with the Confederacy, so how long will it take to get past Stonewall? But that doesn’t mean we give up or even accept the status quo now. As for me, the best I can do is live my life as best I can as who I am. No one ever promised it would be easy, but then, nothing worth doing ever is.