Born This Way

I have always been gay. Looking back at my childhood I can see those moments which clearly stand out. I can look at myself as a child and know that being gay was not something I ever chose to be. It was something I just was. The only choice it seems I made in life was when I chose to follow a straight life and completely deny the person I truly was. That was a seriously bad choice. It was the worst choice and the wrong choice, which almost destroyed me completely.

I was talking to a family member recently who I had not spoken to in a very long time. They told me although they did not approve of the choice I have made in my life they were glad to see me happy. Once again from someone the ugly word “choice” reared its ugly head and even though this family member had the best of intentions it still stung with the fact they had no clue or understanding what they had just said or the person I truly was.

I think about my early years. I could have fallen into every single gay stereotype you could imagine. The Wizard of Oz was hands down my favorite film and I cried the day my sister told me Judy Garland was dead. At five years old I was a huge fan of the non-intentional campy film The Valley of Dolls. In my opinion, what five year did not want to grow up like the tragic Patty Duke character Nealy O’Hara? Hey let’s remember she was living with that hottie Ted Casablanca. I wanted desperately to be a Jet and dance through the streets of New York just like in West Side story. You could often find me dancing in front of my house replaying scenes and musical numbers.  I knew the complete Streisand songbook by heart and would sing it completely if provoked. And most of all I had a huge attraction to Tom Jones and the Greatest American Hero. Yes I was a weird kid. A very weird kid but I was also gay even before I knew anything about sex or sexuality. I just was.

Times have changed and growing up gay is much different than in the seventies and eighties. There is much more acceptance now than ever before even though the world as a whole has a long way to go. So why do we have to still hear heterosexual people tell us they either approve or disapprove of what they believe is our choice? It is a ridiculous statement considering we never in return stated the obvious if I chose to be gay then they must have chosen to be straight. Of course that is ridiculous statement. It is ridiculous no matter who you are. So why do straight people like to parade it out constantly? Is it a fear that if it is not a choice a family member or even their own child could be gay? Is it their way of handling their own prejudice and behavior concerning gay people? Does it make them feel superior or more Christian to state and believe it is a choice? Is it guilt? I think it must be a combination of all these things and more. In some way it is being supportive without truly having to say I give you my support for being a homosexual and I understand it is a completely normal way of being. It almost an easy way out so no one ever will point a finger at them concerning their own sexuality. Like I told someone years ago,”Sexuality is not black or white. Sexuality is a series of grays.”

For most of us being gay is something we did not choose. It was not something we became because it is fashionable. It is not something we chose to rebel against societal norms. It is not something we became in order to hurt family members or to cause them shame. It is just how we were created. It is in every fiber of who we are as people. The damage comes when you make the serious mistake of telling someone they can choose to be or not to be gay because that is a complete lie. It is a lie which often leads to unhappiness and suicide for those who believe they can choose and try to hide their true self. What do you think conversion therapy is all about?

So please be supportive and please never say to a gay person that you support their choice. Believe me when I tell you that is was not a choice for us in the same way it was not a choice for you to be straight. We were born this way and so were you.

The Proper Way to Explain Hate to a Child

What do you tell a child who might be experiencing hate at the hands of others in this life? Tell your child the meaning of life is loving. It does not matter who you love, or what they look like or even what sex they are. People who hate them are hating something within themselves and trust me it has nothing to do with those of us they hate.

Sometimes they are gay and frightened themselves. Sometimes they are jealous of something we might have. Sometimes they just hate themselves so much that they have to find someone else to project it upon. Same goes for the racists and the homophobes in this world.

We are never going to cure stupid in this life but we can live our best lives in the most amazing ways and trust me when I tell you that is exactly what drives them crazy. Why? Because we just do not care what they think anymore other than you cannot fix stupid. You don’t have time for stupid when you are living authentically and happy.

That is the proper way to explain hate to a child.

My Soul is Worth More than Silence

There was a time when I did not say much publicly about politics. That was before it was no longer just political bickering and it became a fight for ALL OF US living the life that we choose and with whom. That was before we were in a fight for the ideals of what the United States is suppose to be about and the country which so many gave their lives to preserve. The greatest generation understood that.

When I first started being vocal with my rage against Trump and the GOP someone said to me, “You really should not take sides since you are an author and you want people to buy your books.” It obviously was a veiled threat. That was the first of many times and each time I would say to them, “I would rather go to my grave penniless than to support hate.”

You know I saw Dolly Parton say something completely the opposite the other day about not saying anything because she did not want to offend anyone. Well that may have been true when you could have peddled this off as a political point of view, but you see Dolly it changed when it became moral. Babies are being put in cages, laws are being passed to legally hate and you are worried someone will not buy a fucking record. You’re right Dolly. Someone will not buy another record or buy another concert ticket of yours because I can guarantee you I fucking won’t.

So for anyone out there that thinks I will stand by and watch the destruction of this country quietly because I will lose book sales, well then you do not know me and you obviously have never truly read one of my books in the first damn place. I don’t care. I will not be quiet and I will not be silent. I just might write a book about it all in the end because that is who I am and many people should write the truth about these dark days.

So for those of you out there who have said, “God bless Dolly for not getting involved,” I have and will continue to block you because Dolly is not doing God’s work by remaining silent while babies are being held in cages. Dolly is not doing God’s work while old men are being beat in the street for being a different color. Dolly is not doing Gods work as another gay couple is beat for holding hands. Dolly is being greedy and Dolly is being a coward. End of story.

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Dear Homophobes

Dear Homophobes,
You can cheer on court cases which say you do not have to serve us a cake or whatever other discriminatory hate you can come up with. Truth is, if you are one of these discriminating businesses I do not want to give you my money anyway. I have spent years boycotting Chick-fil-a, Hobby Lobby, and Tommy Hilfiger just to name a few due to their associations and practices. Trust me there are enough LGBTQ in the community and allies out here to buy goods and services from that we truly do not need to beg you to take our money. I beg no one to take my money.

Secondly, I do not care if you do not approve of my marriage. I simply do not because it is truly none of your business who I am married to. The highest court in the land can say it is not a legitimate marriage and that would be okay. You know why? Because my marriage is between myself and my husband and no one else. I do not and have never needed a piece of paper to say it is real. Seriously fuck you and your reality.

Third, all of this in the end is going to hurt you a lot more than it is going to hurt us. You see we came of age in a world who hated and scorned us. We grew up watching you proclaiming AIDS was God’s wrath upon us. We grew up with Anita Bryant and the Westboro Baptist Church on the news nightly and more hate than you could ever imagine for just being born this way. So you need to understand there is not a lot you can do to us. We will survive because we have always survived the worst you have been able to throw at us and we are still here. So legislate and get your court rulings because the truth is we are queer and we are here and there is nothing and I mean nothing you can do about it. Now can I get an Amen up in here?