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Jaye Kay

November 1999

PRIDE, SUCH THAT IT IS.

I've never been the expressive type, but there is just something about coming out of that dusty, metaphoric death-trap known as "The Closet" that can make one want to express something more than one has done. Granted, being a homosexual, bisexual, lesbian, or transgender person in today's society is almost cliche, hence the phrase "Well, it's the 90's." But we are on the cusp of a new millennium now. With 2000 coming, so many new changes are on the horizon. People all over the world are dreading the apocalypse, dreading the entrance into a whole new era, or some just dread growing older. Me? I just want to find a better life. And maybe that's what coming out has done for me.

I used to be the stereotypical depressed teen. I work black all of the time, I fostered bitterness and anger at every turn, I even dabbled in alcohol and drugs. Anything to get away from life. Life, as I once knew it, was a time when I was the one picked on in school because I dressed wrong, or hadn't had the right voice changes yet. Middle School was something I daily dreaded, and, at the time, I seriously considered suicide. It took me so long to enter a realm of thought in which I could actually find the ability to face my sexuality. If I had not done it, I don't want to think about where I could have headed.

Maybe that is why I am writing this. In some small way, we all share the same story. We all faced the equally stereotypical dumb jocks or preppy, blond socialite bitch-princesses. To some degree we all had to see that look of shame in our parents' eyes (if only for a second) when they had to face the fact that they probably would never see the grandchildren they desired. Everyone has to have faced the slurs that have become as old as the principles behind them. Words like "faggot" and "queer" only have negative meaning if we allow them to. It can be equated to African Americans taking such a negative word as nigger and wearing it proudly as a badge, and not a label. Well, I am queer, and that is only as bad as I think it is, which I do not. It is necessary for anyone (straight, gay or otherwise) to be able to stand up and say "yes, this is how I am."

There are ways for everyone to find themselves, it just takes time. Friends are there for you. Though some may not accept it, do not let it get you down. When it all comes down to the day's end, yours is the face you will see in the mirror in the morning when you rise, and yours is the only face you will have to consider when you close your eyes to sleep. To be proud of that face and proud of what your are can be difficult, but it isn't impossible. I have been to the depths of self-hatred and self-denial, but I have survived; and I want to tell everyone else that once you break out of that cobweb-laden closet, things can only get better. Once the repression is gone, life can begin anew. We are so young, now is the time for living. In closing I would like to say again that pride is not something easy to come by, but once you find it, no one can take it from you.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Jaye
semper@ptialaska.net


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