Something worth living for

After reading the rolling stone article I posted about yesterday, I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. It made me mad and sad, but most of all, it made me want to help. So I wanted to talk a little bit about something I’ve been thinking about.

For many people, I was the fist gay person they met. I didn’t really think about that a lot, until I received an facebook message from a teacher I had when I was four years old. She said:

“I’m so glad that you have found someone to be happy with. I always suspected that you were homosexual, from you I learned that sexual preference is determined from birth or before.”

Later other friends would tell me:

“I never thought being gay was a bad thing, because when I learned about it, I associated it with you. Being gay meant you were like Richard.”

and just last month someone told me husband and I

“You’re the ideal candidate for people to introduce their kids to. You’re proof that being gay is normal, and as stable as any other couple.”

My husband joked that we should charge for this service. I am tempted.

I bring this up here to point out that being first isn’t easy, but it can make a difference. Out of the hundreds of people I’ve met, a lot of them have told me I’ve changed their mind about gay people. It wasn’t because I got up on my soap box, but because I was happy to answer questions. For me, I think it is easiest to be open about most things, so if people asked one question, I would inquire if they had any other questions. I would also try and slip in that nothing was a “dumb question” and that “while being gay, I don’t know everything about the gay world.” For instance, I genuinely forget what poppers are. In my single days, only one guy asked me if I wanted to use them. He also couldn’t explain what they were (only what they did) and I declined.

I’m what most people would describe as “obviously gay.” I think the quote from my pre-school teacher helps support that. However, despite being obviously gay, I have always felt like I wasn’t a good rolemodel for the LGBT community. I don’t look like what society/marketing thinks gay men look like. I don’t have abs, or a lisp, and I only refer to people as “girl” ironically. Yet for many people, I am the one gay person they know. I take that fact pretty seriously, and while I’m not “preachy” I am always willing to discuss LGBT culture.

For youth that are being teased, well, I am here to listen. But if I can tell you anything, it is that, by continuing to exist, you make a difference. I’m not famous, I’m not drop dead sexy, but to many people, I am the person who helped shatter prejudices. And I think that is something worth living for.

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1 Comment

  1. Melanie said,

    February 6, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Beautiful post, Richard! And thank you for not referring to everyone as “girl”!


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