Being gay is so easy now isn't it?
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I've been on the web posting under my own name for eight or so years now. I've been out of the closet for many, many more years. Aside from a stay in jail I never really was in the closet. Found out, came out.
I could and have read in books of the terrors of being in the closet, finally coming out, being fired, getting beaten. They've often cut me a little more keenly when I read them in a comment or an email. Reading of the pain and endurance more intimately focuses the attention wonderfully.
I lost a few uncared for acquaintances, one friendship that would've ended anyway, lied about my sexuality in jail. And my daddy told me to starve and die: but I didn't give a damn about him.
Being gay hasn't cost me anything. You know, it is funny, senseless but sometimes I feel a pang of the queer equivalent of liberal quilt: shame at being better off than others.
Sometimes I think if it weren't for my attraction to the kind of gay men often scorned by the dull wholesome gay men of today I'd feel post-gay: I'm gay and it doesn't matter at all (doesn't matter because it has never inconvenienced me). When I see someone call themselves post-gay I flinch. In an unwelcome way we can probably thank George Bush's courting of the homophobic vote to diminishing greatly the notion of being post gay in a still often gay unfriendly nation.
My twinges of guilt I dismiss. You can't retrofit others' lives.
I keep my mind the recollection of the queer men and women who helped us approach the day when gay folk can really can be post-gay: One, Inc., The Mattachine Society, the queens at Stonewall, Bruce Voeller of the early NGTF. Forgotten gay writers, publishers: I remember a few. Gay men my age and older who lived elsewhere remember others.
Gay people who lost their families, who were beaten by the police if not just the neighborhood thugs out for an easy testimony to their masculinity. Murdered transvestites, the first transsexuals. Boys unwanted for being sissies, if only not wanting to play football.
Some were heroes, others merely crushed. Some are still being crushed right now. Men in their thirties and forties are coming out of their closets, losing their families and friends.
All to be honored for their courage, empathized with since their pain could be ours.