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Michael's Column

By Michael Sullivan
January 1996


I watched a movie at home recently with my boyfriend. It was called "My Family." At first, I just looked at it as another simplistic melodramatic arrow aimed at the fat hetero heart of America. Another third-grade- mentality film worthy of insulting the intelligence of anyone viewing with an IQ of over 50.

After poring over the selection of pathetic videos at the local Norman, Oklahoma Blockbuster store, we decided upon this one. I went to bed in the middle of it after sitting through about an hour of its mundane crap.

Call me a cynic -- I've been called worse, trust me -- but I am just so completely sick and tired of being fed the same bullshit over and over.

This movie was supposed to detail the struggle of a Mexican-American family from the early 1900s to the present. I suppose in a way it did, but in a fashion which should insult any self-knowledgeable Mexican-American. Or maybe just any gay Mexican-American. I went to bed dwelling on the fact that I am gay.

I am gay -- it really hits me sometimes. It used to be easier to go through life and ignore this fact. But I'm 26 years old now and considering reality a bit more than when I was younger. This little movie, by virtues most likely unbeknownst to its makers, made me acutely aware of just how denied my sexual orientation is in this world. How denied I am as a person in this world due to whom I sleep with.

In the several-generation saga of the family in the film, not one single person was gay. Not one single person! "What the hell is that about?" I thought. What it is about, and what is troubling me now is this: gay people are not thought of as worthy of inclusion in traditional history; not thought of as existent in any valid sense in our country's history.

I'm not saying I want homosexuality included in every piece of filmmaking coming out of Hollywood. I'm just asking for a little recognition of reality.

Gay persons have been a part of every piece of history ever...ever! This is a fact. Maybe not a very well documented fact, but a fact just the same.

This moment of clarity (which I choose to call it) of realizing this situation of being gay in this time has dawned on me before, but I'm thinking more about it now for some reason. Maybe now that my hormones have settled a bit, and my pecker doesn't rule my life as much as it used to, I am able to see a larger picture of the world. And the picture I see is kind of rotten.

I never thought of myself as any kind of radical gay rights activist or anything -- I never had much reason to, I guess. I am settled into my life more now. A life I feel entitled to live as I choose. I want the same things any heterosexual wants. I have the same wants as anyone else. Still in this semi-evolved time, we are fed a line of crap.

Movies like "My Family" are continuously feeding the public a bogus message; a message that depicts gay persons in a negative light, or completely deletes them from history. Most times we are either portrayed as confused and somewhat pathetic -- women who want to be male or men who want to be female (not to belittle the plight of such individuals), or most likely never portrayed at all.

The latter is the predominant choice that's been made. I just want to see the day when a gay person's sexual orientation can be displayed openly, and without shame. Film can go a long way in opening a vast amount of minds, and it really sucks to see that power used to deliver a distortion of reality.

I needed to bitch about this a little. I appreciate the opportunity to do so freely...for this right I am truly grateful, for I realize that not every place in this world has such freedom. Because to be gay now is a strange and somewhat exciting time. I just hope in the America that will someday be there is room for everyone...room for the truth. Because denying homosexuality is just a lie...and living a lie is simply bullshit.

So I wouldn't exactly give this film "two thumbs up," unless those thumbs were properly inserted, well, you get the idea. Have a nice day.


Michael Sullivan, 25, is a student at the University of Oklahoma. He can be reached online at M2sBRO@aol.com.
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