So basically I’ve been spending a lot of time being sad lately. I haven’t wanted to do homework, I (obviously) haven’t wanted to blog, I haven’t wanted to go to class, I haven’t wanted to function, simply because I have felt more sad these past few weeks than I thought was humanly possible. I tried to figure out why I was sad so that I could stop or fix whatever was going on, but the answer eluded me. I know that the drama my last post caused in my personal life exacerbated my sadness, but that really wasn’t the problem, nor has it been Utah’s bleak spring. So I’ve been walking around these past few weeks, wondering why this black dog was following me around.
I went on a trip with my family this past weekend to St. George, Utah, where it was sunny and warm. Everyone had their husband/wife and children with them, so basically I got to spend the whole weekend surrounded by crushed hopes and dreams. To back track a little bit, certain members of my family read my last post and felt as though I was attacking them. We had a long, productive conversation, and it was resolved. However, something that came up during the course of that conversation has really stuck with me, in that I was told that when I came out, a lot of hopes and dreams for me were crushed. That someday, I might be able to bring home a nice girl, have a big wedding in a church, or have children.
Something that I think is forgotten, both by the person who is coming out and to the person they are coming out to, is that coming out is the end of a lot of conventional hopes and dreams for both parties involved. Some hopes that end are: having a big wedding in a church, family acceptance of a new significant other, holding hands in public without being looked at (because let’s be honest. Do you give straight couples a second look when you see them holding hands in public?), being able to meet straight girls without having them squeal and ask if you’ll be their new GBF, and so on. In the moment of coming out, a person is casting off the false identity of being a hetero man/woman. Doing this also kills a lot of hopes that they had. It will, inexorably, make others view them as being different.
But why? Why does being gay make you different? Yes, I’ll admit that the Gay Rights Movement is new in the world. It wasn’t until 1987 that Homosexuality was removed from the DSM as a mental disorder. Today, only four states have banned conversion therapy. Gay people, who are living openly as such, are still a cultural phenomenon. And frankly, it’s all to do with sex. In the moment we come out of the closet, those people that we come out to stop viewing us as human and start viewing us as a sex act. My identity has been minimized to what goes on in the privacy of my bedroom. Some people I come out to are more interested in what goes on in my bedroom than I am. My hopes, dreams, fears, and ambitions have all been discarded because I find other men attractive, and I become a walking sex act.
So after this conversation with a member of my family, in conjunction with this trip, I felt more alone and isolated that I had in a very, very long time because I no longer felt that I was different, I was actively watching how different I am. No, I won’t have a wife or (maybe) children. I won’t be able to hold hands with my SO in public without noticing that peoples’ looks linger a little too long, and I think Pope Francis will be long dead before I could even think about using the Cathedral of the Madeleine for a wedding.
Perhaps in my naive mind, I didn’t think that coming out would change all that much in my life. After all, I’m still the same person that I was before. I’m still a philosophy major, I’m still aiming to go into politics, I’m still me. I was wrong though. To society, my friends, and my family, I became something new entirely. All because they’re more interested in what goes in my bedroom (and don’t tell me it’s not. If you’re grossed out because two men kiss or two women, why does that gross you out? Because kissing is intimate, and it’s something only men and women do, and it’s something that is used in… the bedroom!). It’s kind of ludicrous when you really think about it.
On the way home from St. George, I broke down in tears because I’m tired of feeling so different. Being asked by people, “Well, who is the man and who is the woman in the relationship?” or having straight girls try to collect me as their newest spring accessory gets really, really, boring after a while. But more than this, seeing everyone with their families really drove home how much different I am.