Hello everyone! November, November, November. It's November 12th when I'm writing this. Where did all the time go? How did I get here? Whew! Time sure flies.
So, I'll begin as usual with a quick update. About 2 weeks ago I came out to a female friend from school. Let's call her TS. I came out to her on the phone, and after about 5 minutes of stuttering, stalling, fake coughing, attempting to sneeze, wishing for call waiting and getting yelled at for taking too long, she blurted out, "You're gay". All I had to say was, "Yup!". The conversation progressed from there and we talked on the phone for most of the night. She asked some questions and we talked about it. TS (which, by the way, are not her real initials) is GREAT. She was totally supportive and understanding. She already assumed I was, but she was still quite shocked when I told her.
A couple days after I came out to TS, she asked me if she could tell her friend SB (again, not real initials) from the neighboring town. I hadn't met her yet, but I knew quite a bit about her, including that her sister is lesbian. I agreed, so TS told SB. This last Thursday (November 11; Remembrance Day for us Canadians) TS and I went over to SB's house. She gave me a big hug when she opened the door. We hung around her house for a while and later went to some music stores to get some CDs.
I've been told by my wonderful friend who read this column before it was submitted to write a blurb about how wonderful it is being out to friends at school. So, this is me writing about how great it is to be out to friends at school: IT'S GREAT! :-)
In all seriousness, having someone you see and talk to every day know the truth is one of the greatest things you can do. I can't really explain it, but those who've come out to friends who've taken it well should be able to understand what I mean. It's this wonderful feeling of freedom, relaxation, and happiness. That still isn't a very accurate description, but I can't get the words to describe it.
Continuing, SB told me about a gay/les/bi youth group in our area, called Youth Quest. I still haven't called the information number, but I did manage to get the times and location of the meetings. Both SB and TS said they would go the meetings with me if I wanted them to. I can't wait to go! Unfortunately, that means I'll have to lie to my Mom. Although, technically, I suppose telling her that "I'm going to a youth group with [TS]" isn't really lying. This column has to be submitted before I go to the first meeting, so I won't be able to write about it until January's column.
So that's my action-filled life to the present. Now to get into the interesting part..
I've been doing a lot of thinking about this issue lately. Like most other gay/les/bi people, I too feel the need to give my rant about the unfairness of the whole situation (that is, having to deal with coming out to friends, family, etc.). This week I've been somewhat depressed. Most of my depression is due to thinking about how I am going to tell my Mom. I've realized this so many times, but it's becoming more and more evident: It really isn't fair! Why do we have to deal with all the stress, torment and fear of coming out? Why is it such a big deal?
Before accepting that I was gay, I hoped I wouldn't be because of all these issues. Actually, I still don't; I hate it. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I'm gay, I could just do without having to deal with coming out though. Again, I have to ask the question: Why do we have to deal with it?
TS and I were talking and she said that she's glad she's not gay. Her main reason was that she wouldn't want to have to deal with coming out. I think this says something about our society. Now, before you thank me and label me Mr. Obvious, let me make my point. I think the problem has been identified far too many times, and too few people have been able to suggest solutions. Obviously the solution has to be to educate the ignorant. But who's responsibility is this? How can this be changed?
Education Is The Key
For one, the home environment should teach not tolerance, but acceptance and understanding. Children should be brought up to be comfortable with their own sexuality. Previous sexual stereotypes should not be taught. Boys should be allowed to play with dolls and other such things generally associated with girls. Most importantly, boys should be taught to show emotion, and to not "be strong" and "hold it in". Girls should be allowed to play with toy cars and other such things generally associated with boys.
Schools are the next place that must be changed. Sexual education courses SHOULD be mandatory, and homosexuality should be as dominant in focus as heterosexuality. Teachers should discuss homosexual issues on a daily basis. If people grow up used to being around bi- and homosexual people, then chances are they will be less likely to be homophobic.
This may not effect our generation, but for the sake of future generations, we have to do something.
Homo- and Bisexual Activism
I don't want to be one of those outspoken people that complains about everything that excludes minorities, but I feel the need to. Does this make me an activist? I could care less, but that's beside the point. Why do some people seem to think that by disliking something because it excludes a minority, that makes one an activist (or whatever particular label they feel compelled to attribute to the person).
I know all the proverbs: "We can't please everyone"; "Life isn't fair"; etc. Where do these people think discrimination starts? Leaving a group out of something _IS_ a cause of discrimination. Just imagine what life we be like if we were recognized everywhere. Not only would it level things off, but it would also have a great impact on society. Society would hopefully be more willing to accept it as well.
Because minority groups are left out, people who belong to majority groups have less exposure to those minority groups. Exposure can and will make a difference. The more exposure people have to minorities, the easier it will be for them to be around them.
So thus, anything that excludes a minority group, should be boycotted. Unfortunately many people don't see the big picture. It may appear that specific issues are small and don't really make a difference, but on a global perspective, these add up. If we ignore all the small issues, society will never change.
To Those People Who Say Life Isn't Fair
For those of you who feel the need to pass the remark "life isn't fair", bleep bleep to you! It may be true that it isn't, but that does NOT mean that anyone has the right to make it harder everyone else! I'm not saying we should try to please everyone; however, we should make an attempt to be fair.
Percentage Poll: The Results
I received a fairly good response to my poll. For those that didn't read my September column, the question was: What percentage of the population is bisexual, homosexual and heterosexual? Here are the results:
I realize these results don't add up 100%; they're not supposed to. I took out results from people who said that 100% of the population was bisexual, as it would skew the averages. Some people weren't specific and suggested for both bisexual and homosexual in one percent (this is under the "queer" results). People who did this generally said they agreed with the 10/90 rule. The farthest variation of this was 30/70.
Well, that's it for December! I'd like to wish everyone a good holiday (whichever it is you celebrate) and a Happy New Year! I'll see everyone in 2000!
As always, any comments, criticisms, questions, clarifications, suggestions, messages in another language that I can't read, pictures of yourself at 4am, etc., can be sent to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Everything will be read and replied to!