Robert Hines

June 1997

Hi all, by the time you read this it will be full blown summer I hope. To start off I would like to show you all a letter one of my friends gave his parents when he came out to them, I think its excellently written. READ IT!

"Mom and Dad,

Please forgive me for writing you a letter to tell you what I'm going to tell you, but this is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I have struggled for years with the fact that I'm gay. Keeping it a secret all my life has caused me a great deal of stress and anxiety. I never seemed to find myself in a situation where I would be comfortable telling anyone. The better part of fifteen years was spent hiding a secret that I knew wouldn't be accepted by many people. This year, I realized that I couldn't deal with the pain forever. Over the past year, I have tried to make contact with people who could offer some guidance. With the help of a good friend that I met, I decided to attend a BGLAD (Bi-sexuals, Gays and Lesbians at Dalhousie) meeting. This was the best move I could have made. They are a great bunch of people and have been very supportive. The discussions have been very helpful. For the first time in my life, I feel completely comfortable with a group of my peers and don't have to worry about censoring what I say.

Your views on homosexuality became clear to me through the discussions we had recently. I wanted so much to tell you some things from a personal viewpoint, but understandably hesitated. First, I want to stress that in no way is this kind of lifestyle a choice. Why would anyone choose to live a life in fear of people discovering your secret, or choose to live with the constant fear of homophobic discrimination and violence? I truly believe that I was born this way. I recall realizing I was different when I hit puberty and the other guys were starting to notice girls but I wasn't. So please don't blame yourselves for anything; I've always been this way. Secondly, there is no way I consider it a sickness or mental disorder. I am not sex-crazed, not a pedophile and don't like to dress up in women's clothes; I'm just an ordinary man who happens to be emotionally and physically attracted to other men. Thirdly, you quite likely know more gay people than you could possibly realize. An accepted figure is ten percent of any population. One in ten. Unfortunately, in small communities many decide to marry for fear of being discovered. I've enclosed a few pamphlets for you to read which deal with some of these issues and more. It will be uncomfortable for you, but please read them through before calling me.

You can imagine the religious struggle that I have gone through over the years. I don't want to attack the Catholic Church, but I feel that I probably would have gotten on with my life much sooner had I not been Catholic. Meeting a couple of Catholics at the BGLAD meetings has helped me realize that it is possible to maintain ties with the Catholic Church and be gay. I really have trouble believing that God would condemn something that is such an integral part of who I am. The capacity to love is a part of our being; should I be denied that just because I'm gay? I have a lot to work through over the next several months, and my faith is very important to me.

Acceptance will not come right away, and I do realize that it may never come. I have to be prepared for that, but I respect you both too much to go through my whole life without telling you. For several years, I felt alone because the people closest to me never really knew me. I don't want to feel that way anymore.

Please call me after you have talked things through. We've had a great relationship over the years and I want it to continue because I love you both with all my heart. And remember, I haven't changed; you just know me better now."

His parents kind of accepted him, I guess. They're on good terms and all but I'd feel disappointed if I were him because he knows his parents would rather if he were "straight." He's been struggling with his parents about religion and being a Catholic. Yes, Catholic. That has become a dirty word with me in the past few months.

Okay, I am writing this a few weeks later. After watching the Ellen show, and I'm sure everyone will be writing about her, I just wanted to say that I think she is the most courageous, level-minded person I've seen on television. I think it's just great how this show will educate everyone who sees it. It made me feel the same feelings that I had when I first came out. It really made me feel good, it's about 12 at night on Wednesday and I'm full of excitement. Tonight, my mother and I were watching Oprah and my mother started crying, she was telling me how brave she thought someone would be to do something like this. It almost made me start crying.

I'd just like to personally thank all the assholes who make my life wonderful. I'm allowed to say that after everything I get. One of my old friends from long ago was walking by me and said "Hey, faggot boy!" It was the goofiest, dumbest thing I had ever seen and I couldn't stop from laughing uncontrollably. Bashing has been UP lately!

I'm in the locker room, OK?, and this asshole next to me asks me if I am gay. I say "why do you care?" He says, "Well, I don't like faggots." I said, "Well, I'm real happy for you." He said, "Do you suck guys' dicks and that?" I said nope. I felt like asking him if he stuffs his face with... but I didn't. Then he says "How about getting a locker away from mine?" I told him I was there first and he moved next to me. He said something like "I didn't know you were gay." I said, "You don't know how happy I am for you now that you know!" And I left.

After class, I ended up following the jerk part of the way home. I felt like I wanted his license plate #, address, name, everything. Today, he just told people I was gay?! It's like he's getting kicks off of it. Go, asshole, go! This pair of assholes were getting in their car and I was with a female friend. They said, "I thought you were gay? What are you doing hanging around with a girl?" I didn't say anything. I felt like saying, "I thought you were straight? Why aren't you hanging off your mother?" So I got in my car and revved my little Nissan Micra and went after him. I was jerking the car in back of him, trying to get any piece of revenge through stupid means. Maybe they think I'm crazy now. Well, you know what? GOOD!

I am really thinking about trying to get a group going here in Sydney. It's time, well it is everywhere! Also, my mother has talked about it at times. She works at a local hospital in social work and would have the resources to get a group going. She also thinks I should get into psychology, which I think is a great idea for a career, being able to help people at an easy job.

I don't care what assholes think of me, everyone listen to this. Whenever I get bashed, I just see it as a reminder that I know I'm all that and more compared to them. They are just hicks going nowhere real quick, and they should be pitied. Just remember that people like us (open minded people, not just gay or whatever) are higher above the others. We must think like this, we must, to stay POSITIVE! Things are going to change, things are changing right now. Today, more and more minds will be swayed, more and more people will come out today. Things can't get any worse, just better! I watched an excellent show on k.d. lang and she doesn't care, SHE DOESN'T CARE! Even Gavin Rossdale of Bush kissed a guy on television to prove a point, that homosexuality is normal, HE DOESN'T CARE! Think of it people, we are not alone. This is an exciting time to live. When Ellen DeGeneres leaned over that table and "I'm Gay" went over that microphone I felt like crying, and I'm sure a lot of people did!

There was one night I was on the phone with a friend and I started bursting out crying. I couldn't help it. I was just so depressed at everything, not being able to be "normal." It had really gotten me down. It was the first time in months that I wished I was straight. This was just after how hopeful I was talking in my last article. I wasn't as hopeful anymore. I just realized all over again how much harder things will be because of being homosexual, in finding a partner, being accepted, and things like doing things that everyone else does at my age, and being able to do anything anywhere in public that is socially acceptable for "straight" people. It's all not fair and may be I have really accepted that, accepted that I was gay again. All I can do is hope for better things, and learn to cope with the disadvantages because they are going to be there. I can either not accept it or deal with it. All I want to have is love and peace, in the end that's all that matters and it's all that's left of us.

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