This is a by-request column. I don't write these, well, ever. But this was a special request. So blame my best friend for this month's dose of Beth-written drivel. It's all her fault!
My best friend is named Sarah. <begin tangent> Yeah, I know, original name. It seems that many of my close friends from my hometown are named Sarah. It's rather freaky when the only three people that call you when you're home from college all share the same first name. </end tangent>
So anyway, my best friend... half the town thinks she's gay. Mostly due to the company she keeps. In other words, my best friend has been labeled as a homosexual because I am one. I've had to explain to a few people, including some of my friends and one relative, that she's not gay. That she is, in fact, straight. Just lacking a boyfriend at the moment. <-- See the subject of many of our conversations, i.e. her lack of a boy. Which is okay. She rants about boys, I rant about girls, it all works out in the end. And who says we all can't get along?
See, Sarah isn't your average heterosexual. Obviously. But if you'll stop laughing for a second, I'll give you examples. One day relatively towards the middle of senior year, she asked if she could borrow a pin I had on my backpack. It was for the 1999 Youth Pride March in Boston, which is basically one big huge Gay-Straight Alliance day of gay ol' fun, or so I've heard. Never actually been. But I had a pin (long story). And I lent it to her, so she could wear it on her coat home. Which involved a fight with her mother, but that's yet another long story.
She also joined the diversity club as a show of support for me and a couple other gay friends she had back in high school. She actually wore a GSA-esque tee shirt around town. Which may have actually started the rumor mill a-going. It certainly surprised her brother when she went to pick him up from track practice. I know, I was there. She went to a forum at the library concerning gay and lesbian issues, and sat in the front row there. She's the kind of gal who would actually put on her knapsack the rainbow-colored "ALLY" pin I bought her for Solstice. (Obviously that wasn't the only thing I got her, what kind of a best friend do you think I am, huh?)
Due to the fact that she's an open-minded, kind-hearted person who doesn't mind what team her friends bat for, my best friend has been labeled a homosexual. Yay me, apparently I deserve a toaster or a wok or a spork or something. Which is hilarious, because I never actually came out to her. We joke about it, which usually includes my saying, "Sarah, there's something I need to tell you..." and then laughter. If you go by the technical, announcement type of coming out, my best friend remains in the dark. Which is just too funny.
I like to look at my friendship with Sarah and see how easy it can be for gays and straights to get along. What pisses me off is that some folks will take a great thing like friendship, twist it for the rumor mill, and end up spreading falsities about people I care for. When I first came out, I worried that my friends would have to deal with possibly being inaccurately labeled for being friends with me. Well, that's one worry that actually became reality. Woo hoo. Feel the excitement.
Bethany Kimball is a freshman at UMass-Amherst, rather klutzy, and a bit odd. She enjoys feedback regarding her articles, which can be directed at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're so inclined. If you'd like to email her best friend Sarah, that email can be sent to Beth and from there it will be properly forwarded.