Living life openly

Good morning, queer! Hello, flamer. Howyadoin’, homo?

These are common greetings that I hear almost every morning at work. They are the unexpected result of coming out to family, friends and coworkers. After all these years, I wish I could say I have a thick skin, but, alas, those words can still feel like daggers.

Sure, I could go to the superiors to complain and have these guys reprimanded, but what would that accomplish? This is the way that most of them deal with an uncomfortable situation – they joke about it. Considering that I’m the only openly gay person that most of these guys know, I’d say they’ve handled it pretty well. I haven’t experienced any real problems, and the majority of them have been somewhat accepting. I even took my partner to the company Christmas party in 2005 and everyone was very polite and courteous.

Coming out was probably the hardest thing that I’ve ever done, but I don’t regret it. There have been times when I have wondered if it would have been more convenient to stay in the closet, but I believe the necessary deception and lies would have eventually driven me over the edge.

Even though the people around me know that I’m gay, there are times when I don’t “shout it from the rooftops.” Those moments may come when I’m in a restaurant, attending a rock concert, or simply getting medical care. Just because I choose to inform people that I know personally of this aspect of my life, that doesn’t mean that the whole world deserves to know all the intimate details of who I love. Self-preservation can also play a role, as there are times when it would literally be unsafe to announce my sexuality to complete strangers.

There are many examples over the last few years of being open and honest about my sexuality, too. We started attending church as a couple, we live together, we shop together, etc. We definitely do not make any attempt to hide it on a regular basis, only when we feel it’s necessary.

I suppose one of the things that bothers me most about this whole process is that once people attach the word “gay” to you, that’s all they see from that point on. The other facets of your life and personality are all overshadowed by your sexuality. You become the “homo,” the “queer,” the “flamer” instead of a person who simply loves someone of the same gender.

I have so much respect for the crusaders of our day – Rosie O’Donnell, Elton John, kd lang, Melissa Etheridge, Ellen – but there are a few huge differences between them and most of the homosexuals in the rest of the country and beyond. They have celebrity, wealth and personal security; those are things that most of us can only dream of. I still believe that they are on the frontlines in terms of changing the way that society views homosexuality. They define and redefine what it means to be famous and open, unwilling to compromise, regardless of the consequences.

Perhaps, I can also have some impact on the perceptions of people around me. Maybe, with time, they will see that loving someone isn’t just something to joke about or make light of – it’s an admirable, honorable state of being.

Love is everything it’s cracked up to be… It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for.

– Erica Jong

Author: Brian

Blogger. Bookworm. Michael Jackson fanatic. Lives in Kentucky with partner of 12 years and three fabulous felines.

9 thoughts on “Living life openly”

  1. Those people are really harsh. Did they forget you’re a human being with feelings?

    It’s horrible to have to deal with rude people like that. Discrimination is horrible. I’m a Hispanic living in a 98% caucasian (rural) community. Yup, this is Confederate flag zone and I live in NY?!?!

    I deal with it all the time. Unfortunately, so do my (7) kids. To make matters more difficult, my youngest is autistic. Some people act like it’s a plaque (contagious) and he’s high functioning.

    All I can tell you is that life (or karma) has a funny way of coming around full circle. Those people usually get a dose of their own med in the future.

    Hang in there…

  2. I am astonished and saddened to read that humans greet you in that way in real life. Do your colleagues have no idea how much their words hurt? I am utterly flabbergasted.

  3. B-man,

    I know how you feel. I suffer froma similar fate, but being the white-black. Mr. Oreo, White-wash, etc. I once lived with another Justin who was White and the ohter room mates called us Whitey and Blacky. Anywho like you, I consider this the pos-version of discrimination. I mean could be really worst, right? But it’s that type of mentaiity that gets us in trouble. Because you co-workers think you’re cool with, they think that it’s ok. They don’t se themselves as been mean. Let me guess, it bothers you, but it doesn’t bother you, but if you “blow up”, you would feel as if you were over reacting and they would too most likely. Both parties hide behind the excuse that “IT COULD BE WORST”

    Also, you make a great point, about how what you go in the bed room, some how trumps all of your other personailty trait and charcteristics. I never did understand stand that. I know where it stems from, but that’s whole nother can of worms, I don’t wanna open today.

  4. “Love is everything it’s cracked up to be… It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. – Erica Jong”

    Great Quote!

    Take a look back over any controversial issue in history, it took alot of people alot of years to change the “world”, many of the original crusaders never got to see the end result of their sacrifices or their dream.

    You have helped alot of people with your blog entries, who knows, who all you have touched that can make their own dent in history…take hope in that.

    The men at your work are wrong for saying those things to you, and I admire you for being the better man. However, knowing you as I do, I am willing to bet that you have changed MANY of their redneck “idealism” of what being gay is.

    I love you.

  5. I too want to come out. Here goes: I have sex with women. I am a 50 year old male and I have sexual relations with age appropriate women. There. I did it. Now YOU know what 98.2% or people do. While its great that gays have sex with same sex individuals….they are a mere 1.8% of the population. Even if they rapture off the earth today…life would go on…and I mean biological life. Because by definition if animals are gay then life ceases. Anyhoo….nobody cares that I have sex with women right? Guess what, nobody cares that you have sex with men either…really. Nobody CARES!

    1. Actually, John, many people care and are still working to prevent gay people from having simple legal protections, like not being fired from their jobs for being open about their orientation. The current GOP pick for VP believes in discriminating against gays and in conversion therapy. Your comment is snarky and condescending, but I hope you have a good life with your heterosexual male privilege.

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