Yesterday, I was talking to a friend I had made at the summer program I’m currently attending.
“What will you tell them?” I asked her. I was referring to her friends at home – I was curious about how she would describe me.
“I need to preface it by telling them you’re gay. No guy self-deprecates as much as you do, or says the things that you do,” she said.
One of my best friends told me that I shouldn’t write a coming out post. If people are reading what I write and responding well, why tell them? I agree with her, in a sense.
But there are a myriad of people who stereotype gays. There are those who are curious about gays. They talk about gays. They throw around slurs and rumors and categorize people because they are gay. It’s funny, because gays receive so much attention, but so few rights.
People say that bad things need to happen for change to occur. A hugely negative event must serve as the catalyst or the catastrophe for things to get better. Matthew Shepard’s death stirred controversy over hate crimes, the shooting at Columbine created a new system of handling school shootings, and the assassination of Martin Luther King produced an uproar in the Civil Rights Movement.
And perhaps bad things will happen to me. Perhaps people from my high school – the ones who are unaccepting and full of hatred, ignorance, and bigotry – will find this post and I will be harmed. Perhaps I will be discriminated against in the future when I search for a job or for some sort of prestigious position. My mom always tells me she would rather have a dead son than a gay son – perhaps she will hurt me even more if she were to stumble upon this post, or this blog.
However, I don’t want people to think that I’m Thomas, the gay teen. I’m Thomas, the writer, the reader, the tennis player, the blogger, the gay teen. And if I need to blog about my thoughts, feelings, and experiences to prove that gays shouldn’t be persecuted for being basically the same as everyone else, then I’ll do it.
Over the course of this month, I’ve met some of the most amazing people. They are accepting, they are mature, and they are talented. But the girl that I was talking to yesterday, in the conversation I prefaced this post with, assumed that my sexuality was more salient than any other feature I possessed.
I want that to change. I want the world to know that who I’m attracted to, or who anyone else is attracted to, does not change their character, their ability to raise children, or anything other than, well, who they’re attracted to. It’s a simple concept, really.
I hope I’m not going to be that bad thing. It may be selfish, but I hope I won’t have to suffer or face struggles in order to overcome a stigma society has placed upon others like me. I’m not ready to martyr myself, yet, but I can start by sharing what I’ve encountered to eliminate some of the ignorance entrenched in society and popular culture.
I don’t desire for this to be a big deal. In an ideal world, gays wouldn’t need to come out, and gay marriage wouldn’t be such a big issue. But in order for that to happen, serious steps need to be taken. Blacks didn’t stop being discriminated against overnight, and even today, there are those who are racist.
Nevertheless, I’m taking that first step. It will be, what I foresee, the first of many.