This is an Open Thread / Coffee Hour and all topics of conversation are welcome. Today's suggested topic is open to whatever is on your mind. Or, to start the conversation lets consider our "Coming Out" moment.
What is for dinner? How are you doing? What is on your mind. If you are new to Street Prophets please introduce yourself in a comment. This is an Open Thread and all topics of conversation are welcome. Beyond the fold let me tell you a bit about my about my "Coming Out" experience.
I always knew I knew I was different. On some level I figured it out when I was in the first grade. I determined I should be guarded about my attraction to men. And stayed guarded from then on.
It was the seventh grade when I saw first hand the hate that could be leveled against a gay man. One of the cutest boys in my PE class had one of the "jock" guys sleep over at his house. He apparently made a pass toward him and the issue spilled over into public humiliation of the cute boy in public during the PE class. It was all verbal but the damage was done to the cute boy's reputation. The coach moved him to another class and life went on. But, from that moment on I was even more guarded about being public about my orientation.
I went to a big school in a small town we had split sessions and over 3000 kids in our high school. Because of this there was space to hide and lots of clubs, groups, and classes to chose from. So, one could find a niche.
By the eleventh grade I was very active in extracurricular activities and I guess I was considered "popular." And the cute boy was also involved in extracurricular activities and well liked by all. We became friends and worked on plays, dances, and fundraisers. I was in the closet and he was out. (Perhaps because of that incident ... I never talked about it with him.)
This was the late sixtys in the San Francisco Bay Area and the environment was very liberal. But, even so I was always afraid of "coming out" and I think it was from viewing my friends public humiliation.
At community college I met the love of my life and started living with him. It just happen and thankfully not one of my friends said a word. I really do not think they even cared other than I was happy. There was no coming out moment and no drama. I lived the next 38 years openly gay.
My coming out moment was at one of our Democratic Central Committee meetings.
I live in Vallejo and I'm president of our local Democratic Club. Part of the job is to serve on the Central Committee. Vallejo has a large LBGT community and it has a large number of fundamentalist churches. And, there is some contention between the two groups.
A few years ago the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement tried to gain a foot hold in my community and I had to stand up and fight for my rights with other members of the Vallejo LBGT community. Our mayor, a religious man, got cough up in it, and made a number of pubic comments about his beliefs that should have been kept private.
Very few in town and on the Democratic Central Committee knew the threat the NAR is to democracy and diversity. So, I found my self having to "come out" at meetings and in public at the age 60. I just could not speak out genuinely about these issues without that disclosure. So, now when speaking publicly on these issues I make that disclosure and incorporate that it is personal for me. Was I afraid, yes! All I could think of was that little boy in the seventh grade being humiliated. I have lived with that fear all my life.
The good news is the NAR is loosing strength in Vallejo. And I would like to think it is partly due to myself and other members of our LBGT community speaking out. Also, my "coming out" was a non event for everyone but myself. All I can say is my fear is diminishing and someday I think it will be gone.
I am grateful for Daily KOS, Street Prophets, and especially Frederick Clarkson for educating me and preparing me to undertake the job of teaching my community about the NAR.
I know I have had it easy compared to the horror stories I have read on Daily KOS about how LBGT persons have been treated. But, it is my story! Would you like to share yours?