There is real death, and then there is what I think of as, the little death. When I use this term I do not mean what people describe as, la petite more, a term that is tied to the feelings at the point of orgasm. I always think of, the little death, as it was described in the book Dune, by Frank Herbert. He writes in the Litany Against Fear: “I have no fear, for fear is the little death that kills me over and over. Without fear, I die but once.” Continue reading →
Today I am an out and proud gay man. I am out in every facet of my life. But this has not always been the case. I began dating a woman in 1990, who I fell in love with, and we married two years later. We have a 19 year old son together. While I had know about my attraction to men since I was fourteen, and told my wife when we first started dating, I only began to come out fully about five years ago, and subsequently moved out of my marriage almost three years ago.
I never came out for the sex. I came out because inside I was disintegrating. I came out because the cost of hiding was slowly killing me. I came out because I really had no other choice if I was going to survive. Continue reading →
When the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke in 1998, one of the things often written about, dissected and explored was how Bill Clinton could compartmentalize himself. I remember thinking, I get this. I really understood fully how Bill could do this, because I did the same thing. Continue reading →
As I think back to what I was like in elementary school, I remember being a little bit overweight, not very athletic, and someone who didn’t fit in with the other boys. I felt very much like an outsider in the world of boys. I was probably a little bit effeminate, didn’t like sports, and didn’t know how to hang out and just be a guy.
I can only imagine what my father, raised in the 1950’s thought to himself. I know he believed that my mother, grandmother and aunt were too smothering of me. I also know he felt powerless against these three strong women. What my father didn’t understand was that there was something much more organic at play. Given the prism of the late 1950s and early 1960s there was no context for my father to correctly see his son, who would be gay, as normal, or even to fully understand what he was observing.
As far back as I can remember I felt different. In first grade I remember playing with the girls at recess. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to play with the boys. I just felt more comfortable with the girls. The boys were more rough and tumble. They loved the sports that I didn’t understand and had little interest in.
In kindergarten or first grade I was sent to my first summer day camp. I hated the camp and the sports we were forced to play. There was something rigid and militaristic about the camp that couldn’t stand. I complained about the camp, but my parents, who weren’t smart enough to trust the objections of a six year old, made me go anyway. So in a moment of dramatic rebellion I did something crazy.
Every morning a young counselor would pick me up with two other kids in his dirty white Volkswagen Beetle to drive us to camp. I was big kid for my age so I usually sat in the front seat. On the way to the camp, about two weeks into the camp session, out of a desperation not to go back to the camp for another day, I jumped out of the Volkswagen Beetle as it slowly headed down the hill from my house and ran into the woods. The Beetle kept moving and never stopped to check on me. I remember watching the car as it just continued down the hill. I snuck back home through the woods, came in through the back screen door, and hid under a kitchen counter, where my mother, or the maid, eventually found me. I remember my surprised mother asking me what I was doing home. I told her what happened. Suffice it to say I never went back to that camp.
The following summer I was sent to a different day camp. Again the camp involved lots of team sports, which I hated and did poorly at. I did love the swimming and the obstacle courses that were made of deep trenches in the ground. I loved having lunch, sitting on a bench with my bunk, in a grove of trees, eating my peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a piece a fruit. But I hated the sports and felt inadequate next to the more athletic boys.
From my vantage point today, I feel sorry for my parents. I know they loved me, but they had no context for which to understand their son who was different. The result for me was a very painful and lonely childhood. And when I moved into adolescence, I became angry and sullen. It wasn’t until much later that I even had the language or understanding to describe what I went through as a gay child and adolescent. It is a childhood that I do not wish on any gay child.
The world is amazingly different today. And there are many enlightened parents who understand what they’re seeing at when they have a gay child. But there is still a lot of ignorance and stupidity in the United States about gay children. Too many kids are brutalized and abandoned by their parents because they demonstrate less than masculine traits or their parents find out they are gay.
One of things I want to do to is make a difference to help kids who are coming out today. I think I can play a role as a leader, facilitator or board member of an organization or organizations that support LGBT youth. I can’t go back and relive my youth, nor do I want to. But I can make a difference in the lives of other young people coming-of-age today.
I just spent the day with my aunt who lives in a assisted living facility. She is 88 years old. Last week she developed punemonia, which the facility caught in time, because she was running a fever, and put her on antibiotics. She is recovering but severly weakened. Her ability to walk, which was limited before, is almost gone. She can take a few steps at the most. She is very tired all the time. Continue reading →