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September 19th, 2022

Why I Am Out

This came across my Facebook feed this morning…

Facebook user, JD Doyle kindly scanned its contents and posted on the LGBTQ Heritage/Memorial Project page with a link to a PDF of his scans Here, via the Houston LGBT History website. I browsed through some of it for a while, until it became too irritating to continue. As Doyle says, it is Not an amusing book.

A few days before our 50th class reunion, I had dinner with a classmate who had retired to Florida. He is class of ’73. I mentioned the 50th for ’72 and that I was on the reunion committee and so far the only one in my class willing to be out with it. He looked surprised. Our class size was comparatively small, but not so small there wouldn’t have been anyone else. You can’t possibly be the only one, he says to me. I told him either I’m the only one willing to be out with it, or (thinking of all the times I walked among the Names Project quilts) I’m the only one still alive.

But there was always crap like this book. Mind you, this is apparently published by a gay focused print house, supposedly for a gay audience. “ALL about the gay world! Promising much fun for Fruits, faggots, frumps and their friends – in short – nearly EVERYONE!”

“Pre-Liberation” as one commenter put it. Perhaps it’s what might be better understood as “Gaysploitation”. Someone said, Hey, the Gays will go for this! And so it went to print.

What you see in these pages was the world I came of age in. On TV and in the movies we were either dangerous psychopaths or we were pathetic faggots. When we didn’t get hate we got a rancid pity. It was why I spent my last grade school years in denial, even though I was crushing madly on a classmate. I kept thinking well that isn’t me, therefore I am not a homosexual. It’s something I’ve been documenting in A Coming Out Story.

I am certain it was crap like this that screwed up so many gay teenagers of my generation who still, so many years later, can’t bring themselves to live openly and proudly.

I joke often that I’m geek tribe gay, not fabulous peacock tribe. That I’m not stage I’m stage crew. The fact is we come in all shapes and sizes and colors of the rainbow. We are dazzling peacocks, we are socially awkward computer nerds, we are religious we are agnostics we are atheists, we are athletes we are Harry Homeowners tending our lawns, we are doctors, lawyers, clerks, homebodies. We Are.

And every time push abruptly comes to shove and I have to suddenly decide whether to be out with it or duck, it’s the pre-liberation stereotypes in this book that are tapping me on the shoulder. I know what my generation was taught to think of people like me. And so I dig in my heels one more time…

Yes I am. Whatever you might have been thinking that means, you probably need to think again.

 

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Visit The Woodward Class of '72 Reunion Website For Fun And Memories, WoodwardClassOf72.com


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