Oh wow the irony. It has completely floored me; left me diving back down into buried (evidently not so deep) emotions. wrestling to swim back above them and breath again.
To be sitting at a party and hear the words “what’s the big deal”.
There we were discussing coming out in an age (where it seems safer) about an age where there were so many risks.
“What’s the big deal…my daughter/son is gay we don’t have a problem with it”. Fantastic isn’t it? Shouldn’t I feel fantastic about this. This is the space where I want us to be. A world where no-one gives a shit about my sexuality. That the spectrum of sexuality is exactly that a spectrum not a singularity.
However, with “what’s the big deal” it seemed dismissive of the struggles that anyone, an age before, had with their sexuality; in a time not so enlightened (although in some aspects we continue to slide backward; in this country at least). Dismissive of the struggle that still continues.
I felt for him. That friend, at the party, whose early conflict was so easily brushed aside. I could see the turmoil flash across his face as the knife scratched at my heart. Not that they said anything wrong. Hell that’s what we have all be fighting a lifetime for, through protests, marches, and celebrations, through parliamentary sit in’s to have laws changed. That is what we all wished for from our own families. This is exactly where we want to be. We don’t want people to ‘care’ about our sexuality. We want it just to be part of the ‘normal’ spectrum of human existence. Is it folly, however, not to want to have our struggles for that brushed aside.
The knife sits close to our hearts and minds; sharpened, over time, by the stones of rejection, derision and subterfuge. It sits there, precariously poised, ready to stab at any time where we find ourselves in the not so comfortable situation; of having to reveal ourselves to those not so enlightened, having to read and hear our ‘existence’ and rights debated, denigrated and derided. Having to second guess the world around us before we reveal ourselves; hold hands in public, speak openly about our relationships, speak out about our beliefs.
All the while we continue to fight in effort to gain true equality. Continue to try and protect and defend ourselves from ‘attack’. Continue to tell our stories and seek to break the cycle of homophobia through this discourse and education. Seek sanctuary in safe places. But even these places are violated. Sanctuary of the closet ripped open and our truth laid bare in a hostile world that should have been safe (the not so accepting family). Sanctuary of a nightclub where we can gather and feel safe together being raided by ‘authorities’ and . It sometimes feels like a constant battle where small wins are diminished by constant loses. Where emotions ride the roller coaster of joy and anguish, peace and anger.
Any wonder I sat there and shed a tear or more when I first read the news about the devastation wrought on the patrons of ‘Pulse’ in Orlando. A tear for all those lives lost and maimed. A tear for the continuing struggle. A tear as that knife once again hangs poised. A tear for my sleepless child that fears ‘a man will break in and shoot you’.
It’s still a big bloody deal!