September 1998

Not long before I began writing this column, I took a quick trip to the optometrist to get a new pair of much needed contacts. Of course, there was about a forty-five minute wait that is standard with anybody in the medical field, so I took my place in a very quiet, very comfortable, very new lobby.

There were several choices of slightly outdated magazines, so I picked up a Newsweek and found myself thumbing through the pages occasionally laughing at a comic or two. Then I found something that really surpassed me, because I did not think people could possibly be so naive and close-minded.

It was an article talking about how some right wing, conservative organizations are actually setting up programs to make people "straight." My jaw dropped. You have to understand, questioning whether or not homosexuality is a choice or not is like questioning whether or not gravity does in fact hold us to the ground.

How do I know this? Why do I believe this? I've had these feelings since long before I could understand them. Many of my friends don't remember being two years-old, but I do. I remember, in vivid detail, almost everything about my preschool. And I remember most of all.. feet.

We would all take naps and we'd all take off our shoes and socks. For some reason, I wanted to look at everybody else's feet. But I soon discovered I had no interest in girls' feet.. just boys. Of course, I didn't even wonder why back then... and it was long before I would ever come to understand why this way. Even today I have a foot "fetish," for lack of a better word.

But as time grew on, and I got into junior high, I began getting crushes on other guys (usually ones in better shape than me) and I would get excited as any girl when a guy took off his shirt. I really didn't think that I was gay until my eighth grade year or so, but I did know it wasn't something I should go around telling the neighbors.

Tell me this -- did I choose to have a preference to boys' feet when I was two? Do you think it was possible for me to make that choice? Did I choose to get excited or crushes on guys that I couldn't control myself before puberty started setting in? Homosexuality, at least in my case, is no more of a choice than deciding whether or not you're going to be black or white or be male or female before birth.

I wish, like I'm sure all of you do, that people would practice that wonderful thing known as TOLERANCE. I don't need to be a straight, white, rich, Christian church volunteer to live my life happily.

Like it or not, this is who I am.

Deal with it.


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