Monday, September 2, 2013

Growing up gay in a straight world

It's always so fun to hear about people's coming out stories.    Or watching a movie about someone's first gay experience.  be it a feeling, a kiss whatever.   I get butterflies in my stomach and my blood rushes through my body and like always settles somewhere in my collar bones. (I have no idea why)
I'm so happy that I am able to feel that today.   Feel happy about being gay.  Because the fact is, being gay is hard.    Now I'm not talking about hard in the sense that your mind probably shot to.   Oh god it's another political outcry from some pissed off lesbian who wants fair and equal treatment.    No.  Not this post.
I just want to tell you what being young and being gay was like for me.

Being gay when I was young was hard.   It was hard because I had NO IDEA what the hell I was feeling.   There weren't examples of same sex couples on TV.  In the movies. No lesbian Disney princesses to look up to.   I mean....there was Mike Brady, Darrin Stephens and Cagney and Lacey.    because come on....even as a child I could see right through that shit.  It's gaydar.  It must be a gift one gets at a very young age. ;-)

I don't remember being taught about gay people or about them being bad or going to hell until I was older so I really didn't have any idea what I was feeling.  Except for the sprouting breast seeds of the new and older girl across the street, through a heating blanket.

When I imagine being gay, being true to my feelings when all I was taught and shown were examples of a straight a straight straight people, amazes me.    That is some seriously genetic gayness.   When I did discover what gay was.....I was immediately turned away from it.   It's evil.  Satan's plan.  They'll all go to hell with the murderers, child molesters and lets not forget those who commit suicide.
And like the unclenching desire to masturbate, there was no denying who I was.  So I guess I'll go to hell.

It's not that easy though.   When you have your head full of fear of letting everyone down.   God himself.  Our Eternal Father, hating you for who you are. Ready to send you to hell for your thoughts and actions.  The sadness you would no doubt fill the lives of those who "care" about you.   The feeling of rejection and disgust and guilt.  Because being gay is wrong and sick and shameful to my family.

So....I tried to end it.  Twice.
I'm not sure if it was fate or being young and not able to swallow an entire bottle of pills at a time.  Taking 4 at a time until I was too drunk to take enough to finish the job just didn't do it, I lived.   I didn't want to die.   I didn't want attention.   I just didn't want to live with all of the negative that was being me and not able to celebrate the joy I felt in being the authentic me.  

I'm so glad that there are more examples of gay people today.   That kids today might just have someone in their neighborhood to look to, to say...hey, they're gay, and they're living a real life.  and maybe I can too one day.
Maybe.  just maybe.  instead of sucking air through their teeth and saying how disgusting we are.  Those parents to those young gay kids will say nothing at all.  Or say something nice.
Because when you are young.  and you are gay, it's the words that you say that cut so deep.  Do you know how bad it hurts when the ones that you love and look to for support tell you without knowing that you are gay, that those gay people are evil and unnatural.  Satan's followers.  

I still remember watching a show with my dad when I was young.    My dad was talking about how amazing her voice was.   I looked at the TV and said...that's not a girl dad....he's a boy.  and my dad said.  No it's not....she has one of the best voices today.  My mom was saying something about "I don't know why she has to dress like that.  or act like that."  or something judgemental and I said.  but dad, she's wearing a boys suit and her voice is like a boys.  He didn't go into the wrongs or rights of it.  He just said, so...and kept talking about the range and power in her voice.
It was the first time I'd heard KD Lang sing :)   I will always remember how that made me feel to hear him not care about her being a her but looking like a him.    Obviously my gaydar was going off and I liked that he still liked her.

When you sit in church or in front of a TV show or movie.  and you agree or maybe you just don't say anything at all when negative words are spoken about gay people.   If you make a joke or laugh at one.  Or maybe you are quietly discussing it while your child sits in the other room listening.  You just said and agreed to those same hurtful words to and about your gay child. And they are paying VERY close attention and listening. And the permanence of what you said without knowing what you did, could be putting that same compromise in their heads.  and later on in life they may not be afraid to swallow a ton of pills at once.  or worse.  

I don't know how to help you not teach your child what you were taught and believe to be right and wrong.   I don't know how to help you embrace the fact that she was born that way.   That he can't change.   That there is a place without shame in your family for your gay child.  but I do know that it would have been a LOT easier  had I not had to go through the last 20 years trying to prove myself.  Trying to prove TO myself....that I am not sick and twisted and selfish and going to hell.  I am done fighting for who I was born to be.  even though it wasn't who they wanted.  and that even saying that still hurts.  because not being enough sucks, especially when you have no control over it.

Love your kids UNCONDITIONALLY people.   because being gay IS just as good as being straight.
(and, stepping off of my soap box) I'm pretty much preaching to the choir because I don't know that those reading here needed to read this.   I just had to get it off of my chest.   Thank you for listening.


Janet's page said...

I love you and think your an amazing woman!!
Lovin people for being people over here :)

Amanda said...

I completely love this post and want to share it with EVERYONE from my childhood. Also, seriously, I have an "almost" finished blog post in my draft folder right now entitled: Because being gay is hard. I have been hesitant to finish because of the raw emotion that growing up gay was for me. This authentically honest post of yours, gives me the courage to finish it. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I so so so love this post. And it's very timely.

I am struggling coming to terms with my sexuality-- at the age of 28 years old and married to a man-- I have only just now been able to admit that I definitely like women...

It has been a very difficult road to navigate, as I was raised in the whole hell fire and brimstone "gay is sin" type of family.


More Than Words said...

Awesome post and so very true. I don't know what it's like to know you're gay as a kid and deal with those emotions because I didn't start noticing the ladies until I was 18 years old (about 13 years ago). Either way, I agree completely that these kiddos growing up in a "straight world" and hearing some of the hateful things that are said about the gay community, are going to have to deal with the long term effects of the damage it does for years to come.

I think this post is going to help more than a few readers out there.

Merr said...

Great post! So many can relate and I am so glad our world is changing for our kids!

Linda said...

Awesome! And I do hope, and actually do see an acceptance of being gay by young children today. My own grandchildren (8 & 10) are 100% accepting of gays-I mean they don't bat an eye at same sex families, and I like to think that it's because their parent and grandparents and family friends and little friends are accepting. That song by Macklemore really hit home with my 8 year old granddaughter. She was just adamant after we listened to it in the car that "grandma, people can't change those things, and REALLY why would they even want to"? It was so sweet and so heartfelt. And I was so, so proud.
We live in Portland, OR and I am so happy to live in a city that has a huge LGTB community and the children are not sheltered from seeing all the love that is around.

twomomsandajourney said...

What a great post! Well said and I cant imagine not loving my child unconditionally. God made all of us exactly the way we should be. Thank you for sharing!

Lianne said...

Thank you thank you thank you for sharing!!! :)

Kirsten said...

Just. Well said.

Michaela said...

This entire article could have been written by me too. LOVE IT!!! I think I have to re-link this on my blog :-) Is that okay with you?

K J and the kids said...

Certainly Michaela.

Anonymous said...

My mom raised me to be open and accepting of all people, on all roads of life. Perhaps she thought I was gay (totally kissed some girls in my time) or she is secretly gay herself, but raised by her grandparents. You know the kind, the drunk and the bible thump-er, that verbally make every point that pops into their heads!!! :( We were both raised in this small minded, small town and here I set raising my own 2, just 5 blocks from my child hood home. And although I am a non theist I am allowing my kids to make their own choices. I will be the reason the become what ever they become in their minds. So instead of pointing the finger at me to blame me, I hope they appreciate that I was always "out side the box" in my parenting in this small town. I am truthfully amazed by how humanitarian my kids are at such a young age. I love that they expect equality for all and are shocked whenever a bit of history comes up that's discriminatory. Maybe they will be the ones to force the point! Maybe they will be the ones to make the necessary changes in this world :)