I read today that Steve Buckley - Sports writer for the Boston Herald - Came out of the closet:
To which an ignorant (IMHO) reader commented:
"If it makes you feel better - more honest - great. But really, SO? There is no Boston "gay community". Each person is different - themselves. So just go about your life and do your job and keep it to yourself like your hetero friends do. You're out. Now let it go."
What really irks me about this comment is this part "So just go about your life and do your job and keep it to yourself like your hetero friends do."..... Oh really?
Really?!?!? You know what? Im really getting tired of hearing that. So for all you straight people who seem to think like this, lets take a practical look at it. Story time!
Lets assume your name is John and you are married to Jane. You have a wonderful little girl called Sally. For the sake of this example lets use these functional characters. So lets say John and Jane are not in a "socially acceptable" relationship.
Lets start at the beginning shall we? And allow me to blatantly point out the obvious, things that most of my straight friends take for granted.
John meets Jane at a coffee shop. John wants to ask her out but it has to be done in a private way as not to draw too much attention to himself, because if he were seen or overheard asking Jane out on a date then someone might be offended.
Jane agrees. John is out later that day hanging out with some of his friends and they are talking about loved ones family and so on. John wants to tell his friends about this wonderful person he met but he cant. Remember its not "socially acceptable" So he sits idol while listening to his friends brag about their relationships. Johns buddy Matt asks him to a hockey game on Friday night. Same night as his date with Jane. John can not mention Jane so he makes up a lie. Visiting my mom he says... His friends rib him for not wanting to go out with them. John shrugs it off. Thats lie Number 1.
John meets Jane for a movie on Friday night. They walk in together, get into the theater and the movie begins. John wants to grab Jane's hand but he can not. Someone might be offended so they sit in a bit of awkwardness while the usually moments pass and go uneventfully because someone might be upset or god forbid they might be seen and bashed later that evening...
The continue their love life and after a few months things begin to get serious. John wants to take Jane home but he is unsure of what his parents might think or the neighbors. So at Christmas time they spend time at their respective family's while denouncing the other when confronted by loved ones about relationship information. the lies then continue.
John and Jane continue to see each other. Intimate in private. Cold in public.
Holding hands - Nope
Hugging - Nope
and god forbid, kissing? That very act could cause you to loose your life is you happen to be seen by a homophobe. So all of that is out.
Now its getting serious. Jane and John are ready to take the next step. John wants to propose to Jane but in his state their marriage would be deemed as invalid which requires the planning and wedding to take place in a different location. John proposes to Jane - In private and Jane accepts, knowing that the wedding would require lengthy travel plans and a rather simple and quiet wedding ceremony because Jane and John can only invite those who "know" about the relationship.
So lets say the wedding goes off without a hitch. John can not wear his wedding ring in public because any confrontation about it would involve either John lying or fear of retribution.
Its time to settle down. Johns marriage is not recognized by the state he lives in and the only way to get Jane on his health insurance would be to move to an opposite corner of the country and leave friends and family behind. So they have to spend a little extra to have health insurance.
John wants to buy a home, but because the marriage is not legal he would have to be the sole one on the mortgage and unfortunately he does not make enough to apply for a mortgage that he could pay for on his sole income.
So they will have to rent and hope things change.
Lets assume Jane is unable to conceive. No problem John says lets adopt.
Ooooops cant do that. They are not allowed to adopt in the state they live in. How about a serogate... Nope cant do that. Because the blood line of the parent would be the sole custodian. You see because their marriage is not legal Jane could not be listed as a parent.
Fun isn't it.... Lets continue.
So John decides to purchase a child. But same problem. They are not listed as married therefore only one can be listed as a parent.
Not being married John and Jane have to decide which health plan is the better one so Sally can be put on that one. But the family plans are more expensive which means Johns insurance has just jumped up. And remember Jane is on her own plan.
Now Sally is in school but has to be careful as well. Sally does not want to let anyone know about her awkward parents. So in all social capabilities Sally has to lie about her parents or say she has only one. After all, we wouldn't wants kids exposed to the "lifestyle"
So naturally no Sally has to lie.
John and Jane are invited by Johns boss to the company Christmas party. John has to introduce Jane to his coworkers as an associate, friend, room mate.. If you think this is healthy imagine introducing your wife or girlfriend as a "room mate". Hope you enjoy that couch.
Now the opposite happens when Jane's Christmas party comes along.
Anniversaries, birthdays and holidays are all shrouded in a mystery of "who knows and who doesn't" So they have to be very careful about who or what they say and do in public.
Now John and Jane are getting up in age. Sally is off with her own life now. And retirement is coming. Jane is not irrigable for any of Johns retirement benefits because they are not technically "married". Because the federal government does not allow for any of the benefits allowed. Remember that lovely thing called DOMA.
John then falls ill later in life. Jane is just recently been allowed to visit her husband, but they have to take care in picking facilities. As it is not socially acceptable they must pick a hospital or medical center that is under the umbrella of the government.
John then passes away.
Jane has to sit and watch everything they collected in their life dispersed among Johns family as they were never technically married.
Now here is the lesson Straight folks. (assuming male)
Lets run you threw a few exercises on what it means to be gay ok? And hey, this are practical examples you can use in your everyday life. Try these for one week. I will even give you a business week. 5 Days. Here is what you can not do:
1: Every single time you are in public with your girlfriend and you want to kiss her or hug her or hold her hand. Remember to be looking over your shoulder to check who is around. Remember, you never know.
2: When you do get married remember how simple the process is when compared to John and Jane. Especially the comfort of having your wedding locally and can invite all your friends and family.
3: Remember when you are out with your drunk friends, that you cant let it slip. And you have to make excuses for why you are missing events with friends. I recommend keeping a few on the mental sticky note for occasions when you need to come up with something quick.
4: You must marry in private and travel to a state that allows it. And you can only invite the ones you A: Trust. B: can afford the trip.
5: Remember to remove your wedding ring if you are in a possibly awkward environment. But remember to put it back on before you get home.
6: You cant introduce her as your wife to anyone who you might feel will be uncomfortable with it. You cant get annoyed or even a little upset if she does the same to you.
7: If you have a child, remember to make them lie about your relationship. When asked why simply say you are in the witness protection program. Why not, its easier then trying to tell a 5 year old that there are people who would like to take her away if they knew.
8: Save some money for the extra insurance and remember only one of you is "actually the parent". Also remember to pick the better health insurance.
9: If you want to buy a home, reserve a whole lot of money for a private attorney for extra paperwork and remember that its null and void as far as the government is concerned.
10: If you retire. Take solace in knowing the benefits you have worked for your entire life will be shared with her.
11: Take comfort in knowing all your worldly goods would go to her in the tragic case that you shake loose your mortal coil.
So in short. To all you douche bags who think "Keep it to yourself, I give you a resounding, FUCK YOU."
It's ever so obvious that you have no idea what you are talking about.
And to anyone else who thinks "Gay rights are not civil rights and are wrongly compared" I point out that the above series is IDENTICAL in 1950 if John were black and Jane were white.
I am lucky enough to have an amazing family and wonderful friends. So thanks to their love for me I am able to circumvent some of this. To all of you, I love you!
But it does not negate it all. Sadly...