Friday, March 26, 2010

My Left Turn

I am the product of a mixed marriage. Dad grew up Baptist and a Republican. Mom grew up Catholic and a Democrat. Dad converted to Catholicism so they could marry but has never lost his faith in the Republican party.

Mom and her sisters (RIP) were devoted to the Catholic Church, the Democratic party, and University of Kentucky sports though not necessarily in that order. Arguing was a family hobby. Despite countless differences of opinion about numerous things, they did agree on one thing: John F. Kennedy was a saint.

Despite my decidedly liberal aunts, my upbringing in the lily-white burbs pushed me to the right. Being different in any way from people your own age was a curse. You didn't want to be too tall, too short, too fat or too skinny. Better to blend in than to stand out. People who dared to be different were outcasts, misfits, and trouble-makers. Uniformity and conformity reigned supreme.

You could say my liberal aunts preconditioned me for the left turn I would eventually make. Perhaps. But I don't think so. My upbringing and mediocre high school record produced a spoiled little, know-it-all with an over-sized ego and a whopping sense of entitlement. Some would say I haven't changed much.

Perhaps not. We grow and age, but at the core we don't really change all that much. Hard to say whether my experience since high school has caused me to evolve into a better person or if it has merely led me to be differently biased. Obviously I prefer to think I've evolved.

Unlike a lot of gay guys, I honestly didn't suspect a thing growing up. Looking back it's clear I was just stupid. Or maybe you can't see what you don't want to see. For whatever reason I didn't connect the dots until I was almost 21.

Coming out produced a sudden, almost violent turn to the left. I became "different" and hence subject to the scorn of the same conformists I once emulated. Karma is a bitch. One three-letter word negated any positive qualities, attributes, or accomplishments. Wah.

I know, some of you think being gay is a choice. Show me three straight people who want to be gay. Nobody wants to be gay. That's not to say I'm not happy. Nor do I have any desire to change, especially at this stage of the game. I'm blessed to live in a time when it's possible for me to live my life openly, honestly and without fear.

I know, some of you think that's the whole problem with America today. We homos should get back in the closet and hide. You just don't get it and nothing I can say will make you understand. I know. Back when I first came out and didn't know any better, I used to try. Some kinds of stupid are permanent.

That's why I'm worried. I wonder where all this name-calling and brick-throwing is taking us. I see Virginia rolling back protections for gays and religious conservatives battling to save society from all us godless homosexuals and the hair on the back of my neck goes up.

Stop the hate. Please. Lives depend on it.

1 comment:

CathyB said...

COM, there are narrow minded, judgemental people everywhere you look. I was raised in a strict Southern Baptist home where (back in my day) the road to hell was paved with barley, hops, and the fermented grape. I feared getting caught drinking more than I did necking with my boyfriend, which was a giant sin in its own right. haha... (I just tried to be very careful and not get caught at either!) I imagine I'll always be a right-wing conservative, but no matter what, there is no room in the world for hate and judgement for anyone who walks on the other side of the street from me. The judgement goes both ways though,... not all right-wingers spew the hate nor participate in the name calling. Lots of left-wingers like to generalize too. It makes me very ill that the behavior of some give all of us a bad rap. Sometimes I think I'm not a very good Christian (based on what was drilled into my head growing up), in that I am tolerant of other people's faith, sexual orientation, etc. I don't understand how some people use the name of religion to espouse disdain and even hate to those who live differently. One thing I know is this: I am glad that God allows me to live my life as I choose, and that it ain't MY job to judge other people. I firmly believe that God, the church, and Americans at large have far more important things to concern themselves with than whether or not you can insure your partner on your insurance policy, or whehter he can visit you if you're in the hospital. I said that exact thing one Sunday in my Bible study class, and about half the people agreed with me, and the other half remained silent. There are more people on my side of the street who share my way of thinking than not... you just don't see us on the news. I'm with you. Stop the hate.

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