Thursday, May 10, 2007


Here's something I've noticed recently. I made a decision early on that saying I was bi, although on one level it was certainly true, was an evasion, and that I was much more comfortable saying that some [potentially overwhelming] part of me was gay. That may be in part my aversion to classifying ANYONE, let alone myself, as a "blanko"-sexual, but it's also part of my general honesty fetish.

[A fetish which, however, has not kept me from setting up anonymous e-mail accounts and living a parallel life under an assumed name here on the web. It does, however, mean I'm uncomfortable with the entire hole-and-corner game, and likely to out myself at inappropriate times... the whole culture of anonymity was one of the things I REALLY disliked about gay contact in the '70s. But, as usual, I digress.]

There seems to be an irresistible urge to utter in BlogWorld that which otherwise dare not speak its name, though whether because it would shock the neighbors or just bore them to tears is an open question. We all seem to be here for the "risk-free" confessional nature of it. [Or for a chance at self-advertising, though anonymous self-advertising is an interesting concept.] But I do see an arc many people travel, from admitting that they are "bi or questioning" to "OK, bi" to "possibly gay" to "gay" to "gay and proud". And I see a pretty large crowd assuming that the arc is inescapable, is in fact the only defensible route out of whatever mess we are in.

Since I started out deciding I was only going to quibble about fractions, I started out insisting on the word gay. It was the first of the things I did that hurt my wife enormously; it seemed to shut her out from the start, which I did not intend, and still, if I can see my around it, DO not intend. The next thing that hit with the same impact was my statement that my being gay wasn't just about sex. I have been completely overwhelmed, as some of you have probably noticed, by the way my stumbling heart has developed connections to my "skin" [read: body part you think most likely, if you will].

So a while ago, looking at the sudden and overpowering witness of the heart and skin together, I said to myself: let's not quibble about fractions. Nothing this big is going to divide neatly. And I said, OK, from here on in we just stick to the true meaning of our proclaimed heading, and let the chips fall where they may --- as my birth father put it, and an entire generation angling for distance from fagdom with him, I am as "queer as a three-dollar bill". [Actually, has anyone else noticed how queer all our bills are getting? I mean "queer" in this instance without local reference -- just effing "odd". Give me back my greenbacks!]
So, that's MY story on the arc.

But what bothers me is the assumption out there, what sounds almost like a wide-spread hungry longing for one more person to make the same decision, that speaks from a lot of the comments on the various blogs on "our block". To me it is the mirror image of the voices on the other side of the blanket saying, "You must sacrifice everything to stay in your marriage." I actually got something similar from a very well-meaning, liberal friend, the pastor of an "open and affirming" congregation no less. He did not mean what more conservative Christians mean, but was really pleading for me not to separate "Troll and Consort" and thus rend the fabric of our small community of friends. They counted on us, needed us to be "us". I know this feeling well from watching other people's divorces; I have been feeling it myself for almost twenty years. [One of the really scary things is how often the "moment" in marriages seems to arrive after fifteen to twenty years...] But, my friend is in his second marriage himself...

Sometimes it is pretty hard to see how a queer who trembles on the brink of moving out of his head into the world can stay married; the only thing that seems equally hard is to see how I could survive leaving a marriage that has brought me not "nothing but joy" [denial is NOT my game], but vast amounts of joy. The person who seems to be sending me the strongest signals to cut my losses and run is my therapist, though perhaps I'm misunderstanding her. I certainly internalized a lot of homophobia in my time, but I have been discarding it by the bucketload for twelve years now, which is probably why I am where I am, and not [at least as far as I can see] where she THINKS I am. So here is my request to the visitors on Our Block:

Don't weigh in and tell people what's inevitable. Nothing is inevitable, and every word spoken helps to determine the outcome [see the Kinsey test, for example].

Give people room to find their own way.

And, if you love someone you have watched on what may in fact be an inevitable slide down the arc, don't welcome them with "I told you so". There are so many other ways to say "welcome aboard."

So, that's this week's sermonette.
Hang in there, all of you. You are constantly in my thoughts. Stick with me.

If you pray, pray for me, as I pray for all the Kids on our Block.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting post.

    To me it's really all about first getting comfortable in one's own skin - much more easily said than done. But only then can one make one's own way through life rather than following a simple path others might try to direct.

    And as in a real neighborhood where one only sees houses and "outsides" so in this neighborhood do we only see what our neighbors allow us to see through their writing.

    Hang in there. I'll trade prayers with you!