Craving the Closet? Fuck that Shit!

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I spoke to my mother today and asked if she had heard from my father that I had applied for a board seat with a nonprofit LGBT health care organization. As I described the organization, she asked, ‘Is that the only group they serve?’, meaning gay and lesbian. My father had asked the exact same question two days earlier. I explained that they served the whole community, but specialized in gay and lesbian health and was known for their care of HIV patients.

At that moment my heart sunk. And then I asked my self why? Am I so weak that a cool reception from my parents would send my excitement spiraling down? I saw that there is a part of me that wanted to embrace my parent’s flatness and use it to ruin and kill my own excitement. It is that same part of me that still craves the closet, wants to go back in the hiding, thinking no one should know about my homosexuality. I can hear my mother’s voice in my head saying, ‘Why do people have to know?’. Fuck that shit!

I can’t let my old tapes, which held me in the closet for to many years, determine how I feel today. I’m out of the closet in all parts of my life and just came off a wonderful weekend attending a men’s yoga retreat. So much in my life is going so well. I see my life getting increasingly more public. I will hopefully join the board in the Fall and am working passionately to help launch my company’s LGBT Resource Group in October.

The message that I grew up with, and which I heard over and over again from my mother, aunt, and grandmother, was, never tell anyone your business. I remember my mother telling me that I was not to tell anyone family business and that if they asked, I was just to say that I didn’t know. This message was repeated like a mantra by the three women who were central to my life.

And then there’s the horrible way of seeing homosexuality that was prevalent in the 1970s, and which hurt my life, as a curable illness. I grew up with the ‘sickness’ approach to homosexuality as something to be cured. This mindset colored my life for years.

These tapes run deep in me and I see how easily they can get triggered, particularly by my family members. I am someone who looks for approval from the world. In coming out, what helped me continue to push the envelope, coming out at work and in increasingly public ways, has been the positive responses I’ve gotten from my peers and staff.

So mother dear. Father. Fuck that shit! I’m tremendously proud and excited to continue to integrate my life in a very public way and stand for something in the world that is a force for good in the LGBT community. I hid in the shadows for way too long and want to be more public and proud of who I am.

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