An Open Letter to Straights
Apparently all this time I’ve been shoving my sexuality in your face and forcing it on you. I misunderstood. I didn’t know. I am so sorry.
I mistakenly thought it was you who were shoving your lifestyle in my face when you called me faggot before I even knew what that word meant.
I thought you were forcing your sexuality on me when you and your friends cornered me in the locker room after gym class in junior high school, called me a goddamn homo and beat the shit out of me.
I thought the coach was forcing his lifestyle on me when he shouted down at my broken and bleeding body in the locker room that I asked for it because I was looking at the other guys “funny”.
I thought you were shoving your sexuality in my face when you spray painted my name and “is a fag” on the side of the High school building.
When you and your friends trashed my car and then afterwards ran me off the road as I was walking home from school, laughing and calling me a “Queer” I thought I was just walking home from school and not forcing my sexuality down your throat.
I was mistaken and apparently trying to force my deviant lifestyle on you in college that day when thought I might be just trying to find someone like me to talk to when you and your cop friends entrapped me, arrested me and beat me up and threw me in jail because I looked at you the wrong way and smiled at you.
Apparently I asked for it when you and your friends chased me down the street, pulled me into an alley and broke my nose with a booze bottle after I had the gall to come out a known gay bar one night in college.
When I was in the military, I thought one of my friends might be just trying to live a decent, honorable life with his partner of 10 years when you and your military police friends pulled him into an interrogation room and accused him of sodomy because he was living with a guy and not dating women. When you kicked him out of the service and dumped him 3500 miles from his home with no money and no job, I didn’t realize that he was forcing his lifestyle on you. I’m sure he’s sorry too.
I didn’t realize that you were offended by us when my best friend asked to be admitted to his partners’ hospital room while he was dying. You see, he’d lived with him for 20 years and they had shared their life together but had the misfortune of living in a state where people like him had no “legal status” and so his sweet love of 20 years died alone surrounded by people who thought that God had given him AIDS as punishment for the sin of homosexuality. He didn’t understand that your religious sensibilities were more important than his misguided need to be with his partner when he died.
All this time I thought you were forcing your sexuality on me, but now I know that I was forcing mine on you. I am so sorry that all my life, I’ve mistakenly thought that being left alone to live my life, to work and to have a home and family and to be allowed to love who I choose was just living my life - like you live yours.
Little did I know that all that time I was cramming my disgusting sexuality and lifestyle down your throat, forcing you to accept me and demanding “Special Rights”.
Now that I’m older and wiser, you’ll excuse the silly idealism of a dotty middle aged guy who had a vain hope that maybe I could marry the guy I’ve been living with for fifteen years and not have to worry if my religiously devout family will decide to ransack my home after my death because my family – the family who have largely cared less if I lived or died – have more legal rights than my partner, no matter what I say in my will.
You’ll excuse my mistaken notion that I should be allowed to have a good job and not be fired at will because my boss might find out that I live with a guy and am still “single”. You’ll pardon my liberal sensibilities when I think I should be able to rent an apartment from someone who might decide that two guys living together is “an abomination”, or be able to open a joint checking account with my partner, because now I know that it isn’t “normal” for two guys to set up a home together.
Hopefully, you’ll excuse my mistaken notion that my life and my love and my family are at least as important and significant as yours – yes, even when you beat the shit out of your wife the day after she caught you fucking the underaged babysitter, even when you tossed your 15 year old gay son out on the streets, even when I gladly pay very high taxes to send your kids to good schools and you cheat on yours.
I hope you will understand when I was momentarily struck speechless when you raised up your bible and told me that God thinks that I am an abomination and will go to hell. You’ll excuse me for my silly notion that God maybe has other more pressing matters than to care that much if I decide that I want to live with someone I love instead of being alone and celibate. You’ll pardon my weakness when I want a family and have to do it by shoving my homosexual lifestyle in your face.
Finally, please excuse the silly sentimentality of an old man who after nearly six decades of life sees a movie with two “normal” guys who are cowboys who fall in love together. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen any people like me in the movies who aren’t silly and shallow or tragic and dying of something or another. It’s been years since I’ve seen someone like me love someone like my partner and not die because of it or end up some tragic stupid queen. So the movie made me happy and so I was momentarily blinded by the hope that it might be recognized as a watershed moment in tolerance. I now know it was a shameful use of one of your dearest symbols of American manliness to once again shove my disgusting lifestyle down your throat.
You’ll excuse me please.
All this time, all my life – I just thought you were trying to make me be something that I can never be. I just thought you were forcing me to conform to your idea of normality. I mistakenly thought you hated me.
I was mistaken. Obviously, all this time I was forcing my lifestyle on you. Please accept my apologies.