Being Gay Isn't Easy,

But it Doesn't have to be your whole life.

Does it Matter??

My parents asked me if I am gay.
I said, “Does it matter?”
They said, “No, not really.”
I told them, “Yes.”
They said, “Get out of our lives.”
I guess it mattered.

My boss asked me if I am gay.
I said, “Does it matter?”
My boss said, “No, not really.”
I said, “Yes.”
My boss said, “You’re fired, QUEER.”
I guess it mattered.

My ‘friend’ asked me if I am gay.
I said, “Does it matter?”
My ‘friend’ said, “No, not really.”
I told my ‘friend’, “Yes.”
My ‘friend’ said, “Don’t call me your friend.”
I guess it mattered.

My love asked, “Do you love me?”
I said, “Does it matter?”
My love said, “Yes.”
I told my love, “I love you.”
My love said, “Let me hold you in my arms.”
Something matters.

My God asked, “Do you love yourself?”
I said, “Does it matter?”
My God said, “Yes.”
I asked, “How can I love myself? I am gay.”
My God said, “That is the way I made you.”
Nothing again will ever matter.

- reprinted from the Dignity/New Mexico newsletter.

Well, it's hard for me to explain what it means to be gay without explaining my experiences, and where I come from. I grew up in a small town, and went to Catholic Schools all throughout grade school and high school. Needless to say, I got a good eductaion, but I didn't have much self-esteem. I was taught that to be "normal," I had to "marry a white girl and raise a family," which translated for me to, "do not be gay, or date interracially." Well, obviously these teachings failed, because I am gay, and I do date interracially. There are a few things that I did get from going to Catholic Schools, however, and they are: the belief in a hiugher power, the desire to know who I am and where I fit in, the desire to help others, and the understanding of what it means to be oppressed and unaccepted.

It wasn't until two weeks before my 19th birthday that I had my first gay experience (although not my first crush). It wasn't great (I never heard from him after that), but I knew then that there was no way I could change my feelings. You see, I had been attracted to guys since I could remember, but kept hoping beyond hope that it would change. Well, it didn't, and I've come to accept that. I still don't know why I'm gay, but I believe it is a combination of genetics and experiences, but more genetics. I also know that this is the way I am, and always will be. I did not conciously choose to be gay, but who would knowing how gays are treated in out society? However, coming out to my parents was a problem, especially since they were divorced, lived in different states and had remarried. I told my mom first, and that was a mistake, since she kicked me out that night (not too surpriising to me at the time though). So, I lived with friends until my mom and I came to an understanding, but even then she still didn't accept that I was gay. I never really talked about it with her until after I moved out on my own. I still love and care for my mom, but I wished that she could accept things a little better. Well, I did get my wish somewhat later in 1998.....she has said that she accepts me no matter. She's also told me that she loves me no matter what......I would really love more, but am happy with what I can get :) It took us over five years to get this far, and we're still working on our relationship......but we are both happy with what we have. So, sometimes things do work out. Currently, I talk to my mon some, but being gay doesn't enter into the conversation much, which is fine. I'm happy with what I have and hope it continues to get better.

Now then, my dad was a lot easier. At one point, he asked me if I was gay, but I didn't answer him then because at that time I really hadn't accepted it myself. I did eventually tell him though, and he's cool with it, which really surprised me since I heard all these stories about how the dad was the hardest person to tell, and the mom would accept it better. And given the response from my mom.......:) Well, anyway, he accepted it, and that was great.

When it came time for me to tell my friends, it was a little easier since I pretty much knew which ones would accept me, and which ones wouldn't. I really didn't get many suprises there, except for one that still stands out in my memory. One of my good friends at the time, came out to my as bisexual.

Then, I moved to Minneapolis (which I love), found out what a gay lifestyle was, and what it means to be openly gay, closeted, or somewhere in between. I found some good friends there, went dancing, and hung out with them. I was getting used to being accepted, going out on the occasional date, as well as living on my own. It wasn't easy, but I learned a lot. I found out that I was comfortable letting my friends know I'm gay, but I wasn't comfortable with taking my sexual orientation into the workplace, even though Minneapolis had laws to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation. I just feel that something personal, like who I date and who I sleep with, should be kept out of the workplace. I know that people disagree with me, but everyone has their own opinions and comfort levels.

A little over a year after I moved to Minneapolis, I moved to Norman, Oklahoma where I now live and go to college. It took a little getting used to living in a small town again, especially one in the middle of the Bible Belt, but it's good :)). Suprisingly, they are very open here, and have a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Alliance group at OU, gay clubs in Oklahoma City (a 20-30 minute drive away), a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Resource Center, and several gay restaurants, as well as gay-friendly stores. It took a little time to get adjusted to the environment here, how open I want to be, and then coming out to all new friends, etc., but here I am, doing volunteer work at the Oasis Foundation, which is the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Community Center, as well as occasionally going dancing, and making many friends. Plus, I came out to a professor in the Social Work Department at OU, and she was great :)) I would love to thank her for everything that she has done for me :) She introduced me to two male professors at the Department of Social Work who were able to help me find the resources and information I need :) I graduated with my Bachelor's in Social Work in May 1999 and moved to Knoxville, Tennessee in April of 2000, where I am working, looking for a better job, and thinking of going back to school. I'm also much closer to family and have been back twice sine I've been here, which has really helped with my relationship with them, especially with my mom.

I also think it's important to not revolve your whole life to being gay. I find that doing volunteer work at a local animal shelter, and having straight and bisexual friends, as well as gay, helps me keep a balance on all things. My life doesn't revolve around being gay, but being gay is a part of my life. I'd like to thank the people who showed me that *grin*, but they'd be too many to list and anyway, they know who they are.

Well, this has been my coming out story, and I hope it helps someone :). I'm also providing some links below, as well as a poem, among other things, that I like, so check them out!!! If you know of other good links,or other things, please tell me :).

"You can be anybody
that you want to be
You can love whomever you will
You can travel any country
where your heart leads
And know I will love you still

You can live by yourself
You can gather friends around
You can choose one special one
And the only measure
of your words and your deeds
Will be the love you leave behind
when you're gone."
-Fred Small

When you're Straight When you're Gay or Lesbian
You get your name in the paper for getting married. You get your name in the paper for committing sodomy
You get looks of admiration when you hold your partner's hand. You get spat upon and jeered at when you hold your partner's hand.
You can get a tax break for getting married You can't get married.
You get to keep your kids no matter how bad a parent you are. You get your kids tasken away no matter how good a parent you are.
You get to stay in the military if you engage in non-consensual sex. You get kicked out of the military if you engage in consensual sex.
If you get AIDS, you're an "innocent victem" If you get AIDS, you obviously "deserve" it
You have a life You have a lifestyle
Standing up for your rights makes you a participatory citizen Standing up for your rights makes you a "militant homosexual"

I read this on a postcard in a little shop in Oklahoma City:

Because Gay men and Lesbians are discriminated against in housing and employment AND because how we act is more important than who we are AND if we get harassed it's our problem AND if we get attacked we provoked it AND if we raise our voices we're flaunting ourselves AND if we enjoy sex we're perverts AND if we have AIDS we deserve it AND if we march with pride we're recruiting children AND if we want or have children we're unfit parents AND if we stand up for our rights we're overstepping our boundaries AND because we are forced constantly to question our own worth as human beings AND if we don't have a relationship with someone of the opposite sex we haven't given it a chance AND if we have a relationship with someone of the same sex it is not recognized AND we are told our love is not "real" AND if we come out of the closet we're going through a phase AND because gay and lesbian history is virtually absent from literature AND because homophobia is sanctioned by the supreme court AND...for lots of other reasons,

I am part of the Lesbian & Gay Civil Rights Movement.

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Links to other sites on the Web

AdoptionQUEST: Gay and Lesbian Issues
Gay Workplace Issues Homepage
National Lesbian and Gay Health Association (NLGHA)
Gender, Sex, and Sexuality
And Justice for All
Coming Out
Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)
Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)
Human Rights Campaign (HRC)
WebCastro Hotlinks
Queer Resources Directory
The Ultimate Gay Links
Interracial Dating
Christianity and Homosexuality
Dictionary for Gay Slang (funny )
Gay Relationships and My Views

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