I was at a business dinner when one of our clients leaned in toward everyone at the table as our waiter walked away. “Damn he’s pretty! I bet he’s the woman! I hear if you’re the bottom it hurts like hell!” Bahahaha! Another guy at the table chimed in. “Really?” “How the fuck do you know so much about that?” “Is there something you want to share?” Fuck you! Hahahaha! Everyone starts laughing. Except me. I bury my face in the menu and pretend not to hear.
I do lots of these dinners. Sometimes a woman is part of the group, but it’s mostly middle-aged married men. Too often the conversation ends up being about gays, faggots, queers or some guy bending over. I’ve learned how not to laugh along without raising suspicions.
I watched a news report not long ago about whether gays should be allowed to participate in Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. One guy was really mad. You know, I don’t give a shit what they do, just don’t shove it in our faces? They should keep to themselves and it wouldn’t be such a big fucking deal! It’s not right, he adds. People bring their kids to these things!
During a lunch with my 14 year old daughter’s basketball team some parents got to talking about someone we all thought might be a coach. He’s 35, never married. I heard he’s never had a girlfriend. What’s up with that? She lowers her voice. Maybe he’s, you know? That comment triggered a memory about a boy I knew in Middle School. Everyone teased him for throwing like a fag, talking like a fag and walking like a fag.
I’ve been stumbling out of the closet for the past six years. I was married for nearly 14 and I’m still raising two kids. I’m 45 now. It’s really not the time to be figuring this out. Everyone I’ve told so far has been extremely supportive but sometimes I still fight it. Shame does that.
So, to all those men and women who’ve had the courage to live openly authentic lives, thank you. Thank you for being real and paving the way. I could have been here sooner, but I hope you’ll have me. And I just hope it’s not too late for me to join the fight.