Archives for posts with tag: Jason Collins

Bearded Straight Man

1.

Holding onto the past. Cluttering up the present.

2.

I saw athlete Jason Collins on the TV. He was being interviewed by Oprah.

As I listened to him tell his story I thought a great deal about other people I had known who lived as adults in the closet.

Collins was not involved with a woman when he came out.

He was single.

For those gay men who are married or engaged to women when they come out the trauma this causes the woman cannot be underestimated, yet somehow their trauma is ignored.

The woman from Connecticut hoards craft materials she intends to use. She never uses it. Her house is uninhabitable.

Her husband left her for another man.

A lie is revealed. The life of the lie is shared. Often those who have lived unwittingly with a liar also feel that they have lived a lie.

My important gay writer friend mocked Collins ex girlfriend Carolyn on Facebook.

He made fun of her for ‘not realizing’ Collins was gay. Not realizing that she was living with a lying sociopath?

My friend is a gay man who has had sex with women and dated women yet he can barely disguise his misogyny.

Like so many gay men he is, whether he likes it or not, a separatist.

Carolyn is an intelligent, kind and articulate woman who was duped by a liar.

I listened to Collins wondering how this man was cast as the hero?

He’s not the first athlete to come out of the closet, many women came before him and some men.

The Collins cocktail of gay, black and startlingly good-looking is somehow more intoxicating than remembering that Martina Navratilova had come out decades before.

Collins hopes that his coming out will ‘make it easier’ for others to do the same yet… it seems unlikely.

Is his coming out really a coming out at all?

He will only really know how it feels to ‘come out’ once he is back on the team.

At the moment he is cushioned by celebrity and an American media fascinated by his ‘bravery’.

Is he brave?

He is not a normal black kid from the ghetto.

He is not the normal black kid at the local church.

He is not a kid. He is not normal.

Celebrity assures him of that.

If you identify as LGBTQ then every coming out is circumstantial.

There will never be an easier time to come out because most everybody wants to fit it. To fade away. To avoid the glaring spotlight even if that spotlight is no longer hostile.

No one wants to say: I am different. Not today, not in America… where individuality is scorned.

Jason’s parents look suitably loving on the TV. They know they’re going to ‘love him no matter what’, they’re going to ‘get through it’.

I wonder sometimes what the expectation is for those new, enlightened parents who suddenly have a gay son or daughter to dote on.

Judging by those who now look sweetly at me and my partner whenever I am brave enough to hold onto my lover in the street… their reaction may have changed but the feeling I have remains the same.

They look at us… like I look at a particularly fluffy puppy. “Ah, how sweet.” They want to say. “How fucking adorable.”

I know they want to stop us and tell us how fucking adorable we are.

Those people who gawp and smile supportively are just as irritating as those who glare disapprovingly.

I don’t want you to have an opinion about us as we walk in the street.

I have no opinion about you.

Jason Collins coming out also poses questions about others who have not come out sooner.

I mean, If Jason Collins can do it… why can’t you? Why is it an issue? How could you not tell us the truth?

But Jason Collins has The President, ex President Clinton (the DOMA signer) the President’s wife Mo to congratulate him.

They are ‘proud’ to call Jason their friend.

Well, Jason Collins and those other gay people I allude to… they are adults. They came out as adults.

They can control the outcome.

They are ‘straight acting’ there was ‘no clue’, no tell-tale fabulousness, no lisp, no prepubescent flamboyance.

He was never harassed, he was never told ahead of time what he was before he knew himself.

Jason Collins comes from a ‘close and loving’ family.

Like other gay men who came out late in life… if their family was so close, so loving…why couldn’t they come out sooner?

What did they think they would lose?

The closer the family the harder the riddle.

The fantasy that one has for ones children, the perfect future… the wedding, the christening… cannot include a same-sex partner?

Well, no… not if you have invested in the lies your adult child told… again and again.

Lied to those very same people who now bathe you in their unconditional love.

Obviously, my ‘coming out’ as a teen… was very different.

Having no real option… was all at once a blessing and a curse.

I was brought up in a different age.

My coming out was an act of terrorism.

I threw it at them like boiling water and told them to get used to the burns.

3.

Meanwhile, there’s a teenager in Northern England struggling with his decision to reveal the truth.

He saw me on TV and sought me out.

He told his family he was gay… face to face.

He told his friends on Facebook

Tonight he told everyone how miserable he feels. How dark this place is.

Jason Collins has not helped him. He does not have the President of the United State to support him on Twitter.

Feeling different, facing a new world… not as an adult but as a child.

Things don’t get better… because he now has the prospect of British parochial gay life and all that entails.

He has predatory men to deal with at the local bar, he has rampant desires that remain unfulfilled.

I think he regrets not waiting.

It’s a big deal coming out when you’re a poor kid a long way from the big city.

It always will be… however many athletes steal the limelight from boys like him.

Garden 3

Ha.  Don’t hold your breath.

Will you tell your grandchildren that you remember a time when people hated on black people because they were black and your grandchildren raise their eyebrows in disbelief?

Will you tell your grandchildren that you remember a time when nearly all top jobs in industry and government were taken by white men and your grandchildren raise their eyebrows in disbelief?

Will you tell your grandchildren that you remember a time when a gay man was shot in the face in the middle of the most liberal city in the western world for being a faggot and your grandchildren raise their eyebrows in disbelief?

A thousand years from now?  Maybe that’s the kind of incremental change brown people, women and queer people expect?

When will you fight for more?  Why do you put up with the status quo?

Fight for marriage and all things are equal?  No.  Fight for white men to stop taking everything, determining the agenda and we might get somewhere.

A French octogenarian shoots himself in the face because he hates gay marriage.  If he were American he would have massacred first then killed himself.  I think that this scenario seems plausible.

I wouldn’t like to hang around in gay bars right now.  Not with all these emboldened haters amongst us.

Thank God I don’t drink.

I am wearing my pink shoes.  People understand what I am when they look at my feet.

I’m trying to jettison ‘straight acting‘, I’m trying to abandon my invisibility but I know what that means.  It means hostility from gay men and straight men.

I like it when they describe drag queens as fierce.  That’s what I have spent life being:  FIERCE.  Of course, this has been perceived as angry or anti social or…  can I explain something?

Anger is an emotion related to one’s psychological interpretation of having been offended, wronged, or denied and a tendency to react through retaliation.

Anger management?  The management of justified anger.

Listen to this.  I have been reasonably angry for a long time.

I was a kid and I knew I wanted to fall in love with and have sex with men (and women) but the man part of my desire was outlawed, derided.

I fell in love at school.  I fell in love and explored men’s bodies.

I remember when I was 14 I was walking along the beach in Whitstable.  I met a man.  I lay on the sea wall with him.  Furtive.  Illegal.  I never saw him again.  I wonder about him.

They hated us for something we could not change.  I ignored them.  I parried the blows.

I lived in a dream world because living in that reality was simply too painful.

Margaret Thatcher didn’t want me and men and women like me… she didn’t want us to exist.

I’ll tell you what makes me angry:  Brown people not getting a fair trial.  A third of all black men in the USA are in jail.  Women in the military being raped and sexually abused.   Drag queens damning trans people.  I am angry that some people are denied bail.  I am angry that my lover left me when I found my tumor.   I am angry with myself for falling in love with men who could never love me back.  I am angry that the breast cancer gene is privately owned, that innocent brown people are still being held in captivity in Guantanamo Bay.  I am angry that gay men think that marriage is the answer.  I am angry that I grew up with an angry step father.  I am angry that Monsanto kill bees.  I am angry that my neighbors park in front of my gate so I can’t get in and out of my house.  I am angry that two young girls are criminalized for falling in love.  I am angry that most agents (realtors and talent) are sociopath.  I am angry with gay men and straight men for over simplifying sexuality.

How do you live with that?

I set it aside.  The anger.  I find peace wherever I can.  I pull weeds.  I walk the dogs.  I feed the fish.

I forgive them for their sexism, their murder, their bullying, their insistence that they WIN.  At all costs.  Like the bees.  Winning the market means… killing the bees.

When I buy something at auction the others applaud.  They congratulate me.  They tell me that I have won.  I didn’t win.  I just paid the highest price.  It’s not hard to do.

So.  Today I am wearing my pink shoes.  There you go.  ‘Nice shoes,’ they scoff.

Oh, I’m wearing them because I’m queer and I really want you to know.  Because I exist somewhere between Liberace and Jason Collins but I’m still trying to work it out.  Working out what kind of man I am.

I don’t think I’m alone.

Men make their own history but they do not make it as they choose.

Karl Marx