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Riki

July 1997

So, at the top of this, I'll put a note saying what this is about so those of you who aren't interested may move on. So much to read, so little time. This has some obnoxiously funny bigotry and some ranting from me on the subject of secrets and such, plus comments, of course, on Ellen.

I have some very nice friends. Some of them are boys. In fact, most of them are boys, and I'm just one of the guys. I wear big sweaters and baggy jeans, and I try not to show that I have breasts unless I'm really hungry. (Breasts are the most amazing meal ticket. A tight shirt and a "Hi, I'm blank." will get you a free dinner faster than you can say "frustrated much?" Some things in life are free; you just have to know where to look.)

Most of my friends are rich. The words "no cash" do not exist in their vocabulary. To them "I can't go out tonight; I haven't got any money," translates to "We'll have to go to dinner at the Olive Garden instead of the usual four-star."

All of my friends are college-bound: Emery, Carlton, Trinity, Oberlin, Harvard (well, he's not really my friend, but it sounds good, eh.). Each and every one of us has a future.

Several of my friends are gay or bi. I think it's sort of disproportionate. It's probably more like a fourth than a tenth, and it's only that low because last year's senior class left. Then it was half. I had all these gay friends long before I knew that I was gay; that probably means something.

Anyway, as I said, I have some very nice friends, and they are all just like me (except for the extraordinarily rich part). So, I guess that's why what happened at Rice blew me away like it did.

I was visiting a good friend of mine as a "prospective freshman" (they're trying to give the impression that they respect us by calling us that), at the college (it's in Houston, by the way. That explains some of this). He's gay, pretty flamy, came out this year and is still sort of reveling in the whole pride thing.

We checked his mail to see what interesting things were going on around campus, and apparently the most interesting thing going on was bigotry. Not only was it mind-bogglingly offensive e-mail, but it was e-mail for goodness sake. E-mail is a hardcore cop-out. They were bigots and cowards. This was not what I usually see about immorality and godliness. This stuff displayed a level of ignorance that I have never encountered.

I took notes. Here's highlights:

"Have you ever seen a woman?" -- no, he was raised in a monastery.

"Have you ever had sex with a woman?" -- why no, have you ever had sex with a man?

Incidentally, both of these comments were made by a member of the football team. Rice is an Ivy-caliber school with a famously not-so-Ivy-caliber football team.

"If you haven't changed, how can you know that you can't?"-- this one was a little cryptic due to an overpowering lack of logic, but I took it to mean either that my friend wasn't trying hard enough to turn from the dark side or that he was excusing his own "addiction" to homosexuality by claiming that it was not a choice.

"I know of several people (three that I know personally) who have been gay and are straight now." -- that part about the three that she knows personally was actually in there. She must have remembered as she was writing it that three does not necessarily constitute a crowd. I don't know what her situation is with these three people that she knows personally, but I know that if I were a gay friend of hers, I'd run back into the closet. Not walk, run. The rest of the message was worse.

"I think that the gays' targeting the black community isn't fair." -- damn, they discovered the Covert Diversity Recruiting Force. I think this one actually thought that my friend was working for the CDRF because he is black. (He's left-handed too; I don't think there is any minority he is not a part of.) Unfortunately, the low rate of success in his unit has precluded his earning a toaster oven.

Actually, the word on the Rice campus is that there is going to be a conference to discuss the issue of the ethnic minorities' complaints that they are the focus of the Rice gay community's recruiting. This is for real. Do not adjust your computer screen.

So, the moral of the story (aside from the fact that some people really shouldn't be allowed to use e-mail because it displays their ignorance so effectively.) is that the real world is a big, scary place, and I'm not ready for it. My friend responded to all these letters, and I hit him for trying to change minds that didn't want to change, but lately my brother has been wondering aloud (as though he ever does anything silently) why I talk about sexual orientation all the time. I begin to think that I do it to cancel out everyone else. Maybe if I tell everyone enough times that it's OK to be gay and to be out, they'll begin to believe me. I don't go to the extent of writing everyone letters justifying myself, but I do bring it up.

I do it to test the waters too; keeping the secret is a huge bitch, and I'd love to just tell everyone. But the people who explain to me that it's a plague when I discuss it with them shouldn't know. I can't think of any other way to know how people react to it than talking about it with them.

They say that it shouldn't be important; it's only a part of who you are. But it isn't really; it's incorporated in everything I do and think about. It's my politics, my friends, my writing, my hoping, my loving, and my thinking. In effect, I'm seeing the world through pink glasses, and it shows. Maybe all this is because it's relatively new to me, and I'm sexually frustrated like all teenagers. Maybe it'll go away when I find a lover or when I come out. Maybe, but I don't think so. It's just really important.

Straight people were offended at Ellen because they feel she's making a big deal out of nothing, but they can't see themselves from the outside. Every day is a coming out party for straight people. They talk about their wives and husbands, their kids, the people they think are attractive, fashion, makeup, their favorite meat markets, whatever. If they were to count the number of things they say that pertain to their sexuality every day, it'd come out to be ninety-five percent of their conversation.

All Ellen wants, all any of us want (but we don't get paid to want it), is to be able to hug our lovers when we see them, talk about them over the water cooler, act like they are a normal, everyday part of our lives.

Well, thought I'd share the fascinating stories of Rice bigotry no doubt to be enhanced and retold time and time again. And I'm going there next year too. Can't wait.


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