Back when I started law school, just after I came to terms with my feelings for men, I imagined I would find my beshert (destined or beloved). After I graduated we would move in together. I would practice law for a few years, just to get enough experience to make contacts and prepare myself for a writing career.
He and I would live openly as a couple, but not call ourselves gay. We would go to social functions together. We wouldn’t advertise our homosexuality; we would just live it.
Our lives, however, do not always go as planned. I didn’t meet my beshert in law school. Law firms who interviewed me got the sense I wasn’t serious about the practice of law.
I found myself in our nation’s capital writing a novel and back in the political arena.
Soon, I became active in Log Cabin as much because it was a place to meet other like-minded gay men as it was because I respected the leadership of the Capital Area club. The then-president of that club pressed me to set up a Northern Virginia chapter which I did when I decided to leave my job on Capitol Hill.
Not long thereafter, I found myself writing screenplays, some with gay themes. In order to better market them, I moved out here, hoping to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. But, as I began my graduate studies (in mythology, a field would expose me to stories and themes which would improve my screenwriting skills), I wrote the this blogger who called himself GayPatriot, praising him on a post he had written. He invited me to join this blog.
I was writing about politics again — and enjoying it.
I say all this as preface to my trip tomorrow to St. Paul for the GOP convention. In my ideal world, imagined when I definitively came out of the closet as a gay man, I might go to such a gathering, taking my beshert. I wouldn’t be going to cover it as a gay man, but as a writer.
Now, given the nature of this blog, I’ll be covering it as a gay man, to offer a unique perspective on the confab. I find that in some ways a delicious irony, given my feelings about identity politics. Is it fate that makes fools of us all?
Or, as the Anglo-Saxon poet put it (my translation):
Fate is more strong: G-d has more might
than any man’s vain thought
Below the jump I include a post I wrote within a month of my first post. It was one of those lost when someone hijacked our blogspot account:
Sunday, October 31, 2004
Integrity & Gay Identity
Just before GP invited me to join this blog, I was considering setting up my own blog. As I played with ideas for the name of the blog, I came up with a number of possibilities, none of which used the word, “gay.” While I intended to be fully out on my blog, I didn’t want to be defined by my sexuality.
So, I find it delightfully ironic that I first become known to the blogosphere as a gay writer. And yes, I am proud to be a gay patriot! And I have enjoyed writing on gay topics as well as political ones, but want to make clear while I recognize that my homosexuality is a significant aspect of my character, it is not the defining aspect.
That point was driven home to me by an e-mail I received this morning from a straight reader from South Florida. He told me a story about how a lesbian friend pestered him to tell his son that she was gay. He refused to, saying:
I wanted her to be known as my friend Suzie [name changed from his e-mail] and oh yeah, she happens to be gay. Instead she wanted to be known as Gay Suzie.
This became like a wedge issue with her. I felt this tremendous pressure from her that I needed to sit the kid down and explicitly bring up the subject of her gayness. I thought it was so childish of her and so completely contrary to the idea of sexual identity equality. Do we really want to teach our kids to look at people thru the prisms of labels?”
When his son finally did figure out that Suzie was gay, he didn’t see it as a big deal. “It’s simply a human trait. Suzie is gay? Ho hum.
This reader really gets what, I believe, most gay men and lesbians are looking for. We want to be accepted as the individuals we are, but we don’t want to be defined by our sexuality. And yes, some of us (like his friend) insist of making it the defining aspect of theirs.
When we come out to others, we want them to know about our sexuality, but to recognize it as one aspect of our identity as human beings, just as our political views, our ideas, our passions, our hobbies, our religious beliefs represent other aspects of our character. We want people not to focus on just a single part, but to see the whole.
Just as we must strive to see others, not just as this or that aspect of their character, but as the sum of all those parts. We must pay attention to what they are telling us and see them as they are and not as we wish they were. Or presume them to be.