I like to think that I'm open-minded about a lot of things. Sexual preference is one of these. Basically, as long as you're not chasing after toddlers, I don't care. Yeah, I know. Not being homophobic hardly qualifies me for the most open-minded person of the year award. In my family, however, it should. I was raised to be anti-gay.
If my mother would read this, she would say "I don't hate gays, I just think that they're sick and unnatural" Thanks, Ma. So one day, in my early teens, I had a sudden insight. Gays weren't sick and disgusting. Sexual preference is totally irrelevant. Gay men don't all swish. Lesbians aren't all able to bench press Ford trucks. Pretty simple, huh? At the time, to me, it was mind blowing. Suddenly, I had to question everything that my parents had told me. . . like the yearly visits from the Easter Bunny, the chances of my face freezing when I made faces, and the devastating effects of coffee drinking by a juvenile.
I kept quiet about my little discovery. They weren't going to listen to me. One day, at dinner, I couldn't stand it anymore. Either my father or brother made some comment about how disgusting it was to see two guys holding hands at the flea market. So, as innocently as possible, I pointed out that my parents had also been holding hands. Well, that was different, they rushed to assure me. Apparently, that was how it was supposed to be. My first thought was flea markets should be safe havens for gays. Then I got with it and said that I didn't see anything wrong with it. They were holding hands, not having sex. My family stared at me. I felt that I'd suddenly developed leprosy. Calmly, as though he were talking to a three-year-old, my brother explained to me that it wasn't the act but the perpetrators. Before you ask; no, he didn't use that word. Just as calmly, I said that there is no reason that two men can't hold hands in public. My mother, looking as though someone had tarnished her baby, changed the subject.
I should also explain that my family is fond of debates. Not a knock-down, drag-out Jerry Springer kind of debate but logical, well-reasoned ones. The problem is, we have few debate topics because we agree on most important things. Suddenly, there was a new topic. Homosexuality. Previously, the topic had been dormant, because there was no one to take the for side, or perhaps, the non-against side. Now, when anyone is spoiling for a debate, it's always homosexuality. It's my parents, brother, and sister against me. I never gain any ground on the argument, nor do they. We always hash it out though.
Sometimes my grandmother gets into the act too. Actually, she doesn't debate. She sits off to the side and echoes the words "sick", "unnatural", and "perverted" when ever they are mentioned. It's fairly comical. Eventually, she tells some little side story such as this one. "The other day, they were showing a wedding on one of my news shows. And it was two men! Can you believe it? They were getting married! In a church, no less. This is not what God intended. Then they were pronounced husband and husband, or whatever it is that those people do, and they kissed!! It was disgusting. Two men kissing on television. That should not be seen"
I resisted the urge to grab my copy of In & Out. I ventured in a different direction. "So, you saw that it was a gay wedding and you kept watching? What did you think they were going to do, shake hands? If it's so disgusting, why did you watch?" My grandmother buckled under all of the pressure and began to spout of things about how old she was and how important God was to her. Then she started to cry. I made a mental note to invite a lesbian friend to dinner next week.
So here I sit, the gay-friendly daughter of conservative Republicans. Shh, don't tell the National Rifle association, or they may revoke the family membership.
Julie is an eighteen year old heterosexual college student from Illinois who obsesses about movies and is secretly holding out for Rupert Everett or Paul Rudd. Don't worry, she's not holding her breath. Should you feel the urge to contact her, whether it be to take potshots at her grandmother or to commiserate about Paul Rudd, you send e-mail to MazzyMae@aol.com.