Saturday, October 30, 2010

Gay Shame

I'm done with documentaries on The Australian Screen website.  Now I'm on television shows.  I just watched a clip from a 1997 episode of Australia Story.  The clip is from an episode about a gay man.  He talks about his in-the-closet days....the shame and denial.

When I was in middle school and high school I kept diaries.  At one time, I loved Nightmare on Elm Street, and I thought and wrote a lot about the actress from it; Heather Langenkamp.  There was nothing sexual about it.  It was more of a I-wish-I-was-awesome-like-her feeling. And there was a fantasy of having her as a best friend/sister figure.

The thing is I felt GREAT shame and embarrassment about these feelings. I worried about being gay. I worried so much that the diary, in which I wrote these feelings, is the one diary I locked.  

I don't know why I felt horribly worried about being gay. Did someone say something to me?  Did I overhear something?  Did I see something on the news that bothered me? Was it simply the fear of being different?  I have no idea.

Somehow I changed though. By college I lost my fear of homosexuality. And for some reason it became one of the social issues that I'm most passionate about.

So I changed.

I no longer keep my girl crushes locked in diaries. I proudly shout it out. 

The cool thing is I'm not the only one who has changed. Society seems to have really done a huge turn-around.

Yeah.  We're not there completely.  There are still laws that need to be changed. I think that will happen...almost everywhere....eventually.

There are bullies who encourage gay teens to commit suicide. That unfortunately won't change. No matter what laws change, and how open-minded mainstream society becomes, there are still evil pathetic bigoted losers.  But I DO think we're coming to the point (in most communities) in which the overtly homophobic person is the outcast rather than the homosexual person.

There are some exceptions, but attitudes seemed to have changed regarding homosexuality.    None of my female friends cringe or give me weird looks when I talk about girl-crushes. Most of them admit to having their own....even those who are religious.  Men are becoming more relaxed about such things as well.  Outside of Roveland, I'm not sure they admit who they'd turn gay for, but the UK is saying that heterosexual men are becoming comfortable with kissing each other.  

It's not just the left who are becoming more open-minded. Some of my VERY right-wing friends have admitted that they see nothing wrong with homosexual relationships.  Now that's just two people.  I haven't done a scientific survey or anything. Then some of my friends are not in support of homosexual relationships, but they don't see it as being evil and/or disgusting. Even some of those who oppose homosexuality for scripture reasons, manage to sometimes be compassionate and sympathetic.  

I still do see homophobia. I think it mostly comes from parents, making little comments about their kids not becoming gay.  A fellow mom and I talked about taking kids to Hooters. I said I didn't mind Jack looking at breasts...and liking them.  She said something back such as Yeah, it's better than them NOT liking breasts.    

I chose not to quietly accept her comment, and instead said firmly that I'd be fine if Jack was gay.  

I don't know if my parents would have said the same for me....back when I was a child.    I DO know without a doubt that they wouldn't have been the type of parents to throw us out of the house.   They would never have rejected us.  I think that they would have simply wished for us to change our mind.  I think they would have kept loving us, but maybe kind of denied that part of us. They'd probably be like Jay from Modern Family.  They'd come around, but it might take them awhile.  

It's different now though. They've become more open about such things as well. My parents are changing with the time.

Several weeks ago, my dad told me that he, my sister, and maybe some others talked at night about how people have levels of heterosexuality. They scored all of us, and they said I rated the highest in terms of being potentially bisexual.  It was all casual and nonjudgmental. No offense intended, and no offense taken.  I thought that was cool.   

There are all these videos now telling teens it gets better.   I think it's a bit of a lie, because life for each individual is different.   For some kids, it will NOT get better.   It might get even worse.  Hopefully that's not true for a lot of kids. But anyway, as a whole (for society in general) it's definitely getting better.  We're changing. We're going in new directions, and I'm one of the people who LOVES the direction in which we're moving.