March 1998

I can't believe I've been writing for Oasis for 9 months now. It feels like I've been gay forever (oh wait, I have).

This column is going to be short... maybe it's a case of those 9th column blues.

I had a bit of a reality check last week. I was talking to my mom on the eve of my brother's departure for a study abroad program in Australia. He'll be gone for 5 months, so naturally my mom is a bit upset that she won't see one of her sons for so long. I was talking to her about it, and I tried to console her with the thought that Australia is a pretty safe place.

"I know," she said. "But I worry about the gays... did you see some of the brochures he brought home?" Apparently there were some references to gay culture in Australia in some of the travel brochures my brother had brought home.

I was kind of shocked that that would top her list of worries. "The gays? What do you think they're going to do to him?"

"Oh, I don't know, I worry they might try to lure him into their lifestyle or something."

"Mom, I don't think that's something you have to worry about... gays don't go around luring people into being gay."

"Well, I do think they prey on lonely people. Your brother isn't lonely like that, so he probably won't feel that need, but you never know."

I kind of shrugged it off at that point (conveying "Whatever." by my body language). I was pretty disturbed though. This was the first time I'd ever heard my mom say something so ignorant and fearful of gays. Normally, she is a very loving and accepting person, and I was beginning to convince myself in my mind that she was going to fully support and love me when I eventually told her the truth about me. I can't help but feel that this encounter was a setback to some sort of "progress" I was making, when in reality the progress is mostly in my head and my heart, not in my relationships. I realize that I still probably have it pretty good compared to the horror stories of others I read about, whose parents are far more hateful. But I was awakened this week from my delusion that because I'm getting more and more comfortable with who I am, others were getting more and more comfortable with it too. I'm kind of down about it, but I do feel it's better to know the reality of a situation than to set myself up for a bigger crash because I was deceiving myself. I still have a long way to go.

Until next month,


P.S. To Robert Redford: I tried to reply to your message but your postmaster says you don't exist.

P.P.S. To Jim: I tried to write you some more, but your postmaster also thinks you don't exist.

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