So then, we have about 8 months to encourage NC voters to get out in May and vote, and those same 8 months to help them (all of those who may vote, pro or con) see that an amendment such as the one being proposed (SB 514/Amendment One) will do nothing but harm to so many residents of NC. Harm to the teens out there that are beginning to find themselves and to the many like myself who needed a longer time to find their way.
I heard a black preacher say at the rally in September that gay rights are nothing like civil rights (in reference to the struggles black citizens faced and still face), because what we (assuming that refers to me) choose to do in the bedroom has nothing to do with the color of someone’s skin so clearly not an issue of civil rights because it is a choice…ok sure sex and skin color, not connected I get that… that goes for heterosexuals too. As far as I know black people didn’t choose their skin color and likewise I didn’t choose my sexuality and while I am thinking of it did any of you straight people wake up one day and decide to be heterosexual? Not a choice. Period. How is this not civil rights? And when we say rights, what exactly do we mean anyway? Because in my estimation my civil liberties (as stated in our constitution) have long since been violated. Gays, females, blacks, hispanics, etc the list goes on. For generations our country has found someone to persecute, someone to be afraid of, and someone to focus on so they don’t have to focus on themselves.
So clearly I chose to be gay. I chose to live a life where others would ridicule me. Where others would whisper about me. Where others would make judgments about me just because of who I was. I chose to feel sad and depressed when I wasn’t what everyone else was, and when I couldn’t figure out why I was wrong. I did choose to spend 28 years of my life avoiding being gay that is a fact. I didn’t want to be gay. I did everything I could to avoid thinking about the fact that I wasn’t like other girls I knew. I tried really hard to make myself fit in, really hard to like what they liked, and tried really hard to achieve the desired end result of every little girl’s princess fantasies. My avoidance lasted through college and grad school and then I decided I needed to be proactive in achieving this all american dream I had clung to. This included too many forced match.com and eharmony dates with men whom I had zero interest in, so that I might begin to fulfill “the plan”. You know that one that was made for you when you were a small child…the one no one really realizes they are laying out for the young impressionable little people floating around. The plan that is reinforced throughout your growing up without anyone ever realizing it, the one where you grow up and go to college, fall in love with a hunky man, get married, buy a cute little house and pop out some babies. The one that includes lots of pink (vomit) and pretty dresses and talk of makeup and jewelry and shoes and hairstyles and endless gossip about boys. The one that has you feeling pressure to live up to what is expected of you…as a girl. The one that makes you feel ashamed of yourself and wrong for not wanting any of those things.
I have a great and loving family but where I grew up there wasn’t a whole lot of otherness if you get my drift. I didn’t meet gay people (I mean of course I did but it wasn’t acknowledged or discussed) or black people, or any “other” types of people except white middle class farming folks who didn’t really venture out into the rest of the very diverse world not all that far from them. I was told all the right things about how we accept people’s differences and we treat everyone with respect. But, I also heard my neighbor’s bigoted and hateful statements about people’s otherness. I saw the lack of diversity around me and I knew other was not ok where I was from. I may not have acknowledged it out loud or had an inkling about what was going on in the deepest parts of my brain at that time but I must have known other wasn’t ok. I can reflect on all of this now with clarity but I sure as shit didn’t know anything about it as I tried to live out "the plan".
I came out of the closet I had inhabited for a very long time in April of 2005. I was 28 years old. How does one seriously take that long to figure this out? Is it possible I really didn’t know? Obviously on some level I knew for a long time. I had fleeting thoughts about it since I was younger. Those thoughts were always met with a disapproving nod on my part and a “we are not even going to think about this” mentality, its ridiculous. I believe now that I could not come out until then because I was just scared and it was against all of my plans. And if you know me, you know I like to plan. I like to succeed. I like to be well liked. I like to make people happy. I felt that if I came out and was true to myself I would be letting so many people down and I would be shattering all my plans and I didn’t know how to formulate new plans in a life I wasn’t prepared for. I needed time to prepare.
I have wonderful and amazing friends. I have a loving and supportive family. I came out and it was truly like we were chatting about the weather, noone was upset with me, no one refused to love me any more or be friends any more. I have good people around me. Coming out for me was not the horrible process it can be for so many and that I know it has been for many of my friends. The process was most difficult for me as an individual not for those who loved me. Those who loved me, still loved me. Nothing about me changed for them. I was still the goofy, crazy person they had always known. I just happened to know myself better now and I was able to be at peace with all parts of me and move on to embrace what was to come in my life.
I feel so happy I found my way, it took me a while but I did it. It is my hope that in reading this you may have learned something about me, whether you know me or not. Perhaps you might hear my story and understand a bit more the struggle that is faced by so many, in NC and all across the world. It is my greater hope that you will think about all those kids out there who are being told they should follow a plan, or live a dream that belongs to someone else and doesn’t match up to their own. I hope you will think about what you can do to help those kids know they are wonderful and beautiful just as they are and however they evolve and let them know that there are great and marvelous plans and dreams of every shape, size, color, and flavor they might imagine waiting for them to latch onto.