Sunday, June 30, 2013

I’ve Got to Watch My Mouth

So this morning at breakfast, I was reading (marvelous invention, the iPhone 5) about Texas Governor Rick Perry having called YET ANOTHER Special Session to try to deny women their Constitutional Rights (look, I don’t like abortion, and when a young relative came to me for advice on the subject, I DID tell her to go ahead and have the baby and give her to me, that’s how I feel—but it’s a woman’s body and it’s her right to choose, period. Story over, Rick.  And a quick aside: there have been abortions as long as there have been women and men. The only difference is, now they can be performed in a hospital instead of in a back room with a coat hanger.  And let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone…and, with all the newborn babies, how many can we put you down for?  Because they’ve got to be fed and housed…)---a SECOND Special Session at the expense of Texas taxpayers, just to remind them that they are the fiscal conservatives—and I thought, “I just HATE f*cking Rick f*cking Perry.”

And that thought led to this:

We cannot calm the level and tone of discourse in this country as long as we hate.  I have been tweeting to Matt to “f*ck the haters” when somebody hates on him and Russ (they have been hated on, preached to, etc).  Well—I can’t very well tell them to f*ck the haters, and then turn around and be a hater myself, just one wearing a rainbow flag.

I’m going to start correcting myself every time I utter the words, “I hate…”.  “I hate the 104 degree temps in Houston.”  Well, then why do you live here?  “I hate Texas Governor Rick Perry.”  Do you really?  Do you want him dead?  No.  I’d probably go have a beer with him (THAT would be an interesting conversation; we could sell tickets…).

The key, I think, is to be strong and resolute while remaining good and kind.  I’m not going to let anybody run over me.  I will stand up for my rights, for my free speech (which is being trampled, thank you Patriot Act), will oppose oppression and evil, and fight for my rights as an American Citizen, including the right to marry and the right to not be discriminated against on the basis of my sexual orientation.  There is no compromise—we’re either Citizens or we’re not.  Since (1) I was born here (I have a birth certificate from Dallas County, Texas, ‘Murikuh to prove it) and (2) I am a full-grown, tax-paying adult in possession of a Texas Driver’s License, a US Passport, a Harris County Voter ID, and a Social Security card/account, I deduce that I am an American Citizen.  Why, therefore, may I not marry whom I choose?  Why must I be subject to discrimination in the workplace? (I, fortunately, work for a great company which would never do so, in fact, is aggressively the other way, but I have worked for some doozies in the past).  But, I digress.  More posts to come on those subjects.  This one is about eliminating hate.

What I am NOT going to do (starting today) is join the Hate Camp.  Positive but Strong.  Resolute, with a smile and a handshake, ready to explain my viewpoint in a calm, level, reasoned manner, instead of being as shrill as some of the haters.

I would urge you to join me in purging the words, “I hate” from your lexicon.

You can’t hate and say

Love Conquers All

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Coming Out is Not as Easy as it Sounds (but you can do it!)

…and it’s very rewarding.

I am blessed with some truly amazing friends.

I have been gay all my life; June 27, 2013 is just the day I decided to stop playing “Let’s Pretend” and LYING to all my friends (except for the select few who already knew).

Many had already guessed, or even thought it was common knowledge.  I guess we all think we’re better actors than we are, eh?

In any event, coming out of the closet has been exhilarating. I was terribly frightened, even at 56.  When you’ve been conditioned to hide something your whole life, it’s not easy to change that conditioning.

But, thanks to the example of some very brave young friends, I finally summoned my courage and stuck it to the sticking place, and here I am, out…or, in the immortal words of the immortal Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Free at last, free at last, praise God Almighty I’m free at last.”

First, I began posting increasingly “gay-themed” posts on my facebook page.  One of my friends instant messaged me and tried to tell me that it was ok, he was still my friend.  We talked for about an hour.  The next day, I put a toe in the water and told another friend and his wife.  Their response?  “If you want to keep us away, you’ll have to use a weapon.”  So, I kept dialing.  Every friend I told was super-supportive and loving. 

The thing gained momentum and then I couldn’t stand it any more, so in Matt’s words, I ripped the band-aid off, and came out on facebook to the whole world.  This started an avalanche of loving posts from my wonderful friends---and I gained several great new friends as a result!

This is YouTube’s “Proud to Love” video.  Look at the faces in the first few clips…I know EXACTLY how they felt.  It’s terrifying.

Proud to Love

Now, I’m embarrassed that I ever doubted my amazing friends.  The love they’ve shown me this week has been astonishing and wonderful.  I guess I’ve learned something about the true nature of friendship.  I have cried A LOT this week, overwhelmed with the emotion.  It was literally a flood of love.  I have never felt this much love, the only other times that were the same were with my parents and grandparents when I was a small child.  I have to tell you, it’s intoxicating.  It’s also great that I can finally be ME 24/7, and not live this weird double-life I’ve lived.  I’ve been going to bars and dating men since I graduated college—but in secret (oohhh, somebody might find out!).

I’ve been warned that, in my ultra-conservative industry and in this era of electronic data at the drop of a hat, some employer might not offer me a job.  My response?  If this is a problem for a potential employer, I don’t want to work there and want to know now!  Actually, my current employer is great about it; many gay people in high positions and all they care about is competency to do the job, not with whom you sleep.  I love that about them.

Quick notes:  Nathan, thank you for always being there for me.  Robert and Keith, thank you for staying the course with me for these 40 years.  Marty, Kathy, David & Cindy, Richard, Jimmy, couldn’t make it without you.  Russ and Matt, thank you from the bottom of my heart; I’d never have been able to to this without your example and support.

Russ & Matt’s YouTube Channel

I’m making a hash of this; I’m much better at recounting a funny old story than revealing deep emotions (the Aquarian in me; I’ll tell a funny story, but reserve the “real me”). 

If you’re reading this and you’re one of my friends:  Thank you for being my friend.

If you’re reading this and in the closet, I’m telling you:  come out already.  It’s better out here in the light.  As one of my friends said, “Closets are good only for holding a fabulous collection of shoes!”  (Ahem, that is my real gay weakness:  there is no such thing as too many pairs of shoes…).

I’m so thrilled with the defeat of DOMA and Prop 8, but we cannot stop until equal marriage rights are the law of the land.  I’d like to find “Mr. Right” and try it at some point, and I don’t want smug other people telling me I can’t, that I don’t have the same rights as every other American.  I’m tired of it, I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it any more! (Network, geez, don’t you people watch movies!?).

So there ya have it, folks, Uncle Nicky’s gay.  Always have been, just lied about it till now.

Never again.

And, I have a new “motto”—“Love Conquers All”.  It’s all you need, after all.


It DOES get better.

In the comments below, if you've got a coming out story, tell me! If you're scared, leave a comment and I will be glad to talk with you.