23 April 2011

Easter SunGay aka GAY BIRTHDAY!

Easter is easily my least favorite holiday. My entire life, I've always dreaded that fateful Sunday each year. I'm not sure if it's mandatory mass or my lack of love for chocolate, but I've just never seemed to get it up for the holiday as much as everyone else around me seemed to. However, 5 years ago today, I had a whole new reason to celebrate. While Jesus was waltzing out of his dinky, dreary cave, I was coming out of my closet. Yes: this proper Irish Catholic boy decided to come out to his family on the Saturday before Easter Sunday. I always liked to get a good night's rest on Good Friday, because the next day was my Gay Birthday.

It was my freshman year of college, and I had returned home for a brief weekend upstate. I hadn't gone into it planning to have a carefully constructed sit down with my parents and unload this heavy explanation on them. Sure, I had had long drawn out Oprah-moments in front of the mirror for years with myself playing my parents responding in various forms of despair, joy, shock, et. al. Yet, I never planned a speech or discussed any plan of attack prior to this moment. However, with almost a year of living as an out, gay male surrounded by my supportive fellow gays and close to 4 months of a gay relationship under my belt, I felt compelled to share with my parents the joy I felt with my new found self. I had had previous success in coming out to my sister when she visited me in the city to stellar results.

So, as I sat in the living room with my mother watching a re-run of Law & Order: SVU on Saturday night, I simply blurted out, "I'm gay." She instantly heard what I said but took a minute to process before responding. "Did you just say you were gay?" I said, "Yes" and began to tell her that I had been dating a boy for close to 4 months and I definitely knew I was gay. Now, if you've ever met me, it's near impossible to picture this but I had dated a girl for close to 2 years in high school. We were a rather "emo" couple and were known to either have epic and dramatically passionate squabbles or declarations of undying and obsessive love. We were also known to be rather horny and were often caught getting frisky with our adolescent netherbits - so this was initially difficult for my mother to comprehend.

My instinct was to tell her I had feelings for boys and enjoyed the feeling of boys inside me but thought probably was a little too much for her little heart to take, so when she asked if I had ever had sex with a boy, I immediately said, "No." However, this complicated matters as she repeatedly asked "Well, if you've never had sex with a boy, how do you KNOW you're gay? Isn't that important?" So then, I buckled down and admitted I had, and I enjoyed it.

As if on a timer, my father decided to enter the living room. Now, once again, for those who know me, my father and I are also known to have a tumultuous past. However, neither in the emo nor horny variety. Simply the "I've never met your father" variety. He was an inconsistent presence throughout my life, frequently confused about the things I did, and was often very vocal about my lack of interest in sports, cars, or non-fashionable clothes. So, when he came through the door, my mother quickly shook her head at me as if to say, "No, don't tell him yet."

However, on a high from feeling so free, I thought "Fuck it" and told him too. He oddly took more in stride than my mother. He asked me if I was happy. After I said I thought I was, he seemed satisfied and began to stand up to leave the room. My mother (never one for inappropriate exits) asked him to stay so we could all talk this through. Now, you have to understand that my mother was and is completely accepting of me, my feelings, and who I am. However, to her, she needed to understand. My entire life she has instilled in me that I was just different, and that because I wasn't interested in the same things as other boys, that didn't mean I was any less than a man. She still feels this way, however at that moment, her biggest fear was that other people would treat me as if less of a man and, more importantly, I would start to believe it. She was scared for me and for the people who hate those like me. And do horrible things to people like me - people like her son.

I told her that if I hadn't gone to school, hadn't moved to New York, and seen that there are successful, gay, happy, and safe men living an every day life, I wouldn't have come out to them at that moment. The one word that stuck out on that list was "Safe," which led us into the "Safe Sex" conversation, which in turn led to the sex questions. Yes, I had sex with a man. Yes, I enjoyed it. Then it was:

Mom: Well, when you have...sex....Do you?....How do?....When you...?
Me: Am I a top or a bottom? A bottom. And no, it doesn't hurt.

To which my Dad burst out laughing. My mother asked him if he thought this was funny because she was just wondering and he just looked at her as if she was mental. It was looking at their faces in that moment that I understood what it meant to not understand. I've never known what it feels like to not be gay. And they've never understood was it was to be gay. They had questions, regardless of the fact that the answers would come from their son, but that was the best place for them to come from. I am a firm believer in the school of thought that says for every LGBT individual that comes out of the closet, triple that amount become more accepting. My parents are still trying to figure out what "being gay" means, how it feels, and that it's only an aspect of the rest of my life. After 5 years, they're still learning how to be gay, and you know what, so am I.

So to me and my parents, "Happy 5th Gay Birthday!"

Point of Conversation: Does anyone actually like Peeps?

- Lean

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