While I do not generally use this forum as a platform for political or social discourse, I feel I must break with this tradition to speak on one particular subject before I burst a blood vessel in my head.
A recent Internet article about gay athletes at the Olympics created a long thread of comments. Some were quite judgemental and hateful. I expected these. I might have even been disappointed if I had been denied the entertainment of watching the self righteous pick and chose scripture as a basis for their barbaric and unenlightened opinions. But there were others, far too many, from people who felt this view is reasonable. Gays can be gays, we have nothing against them and bear them no ill will, they just shouldn't talk about it. Their private lives should be private. It is none of our business and we don't wish to hear about it.
This opinion is often held by persons wearing wedding rings and displaying, when possible, pictures of their spouse and children in their workplace. They hold this opinion while they kiss their spouse in public or walk side by side holding hands or with their arms around one another's waist.
These people have never experienced the feeling of isolation of a young teen struggling to understand a sexuality for which there is no reference. Couples are man and woman. Same sex couples are not seen, therefore do not exist. As presented by the mainstream media, gay men are campy and fey, gay women butch and humorless.It is difficult to find depictions of loving, normal, same sex relationships.
We, as a community, have endured a long and difficult struggle to get where we are. I, for one, will not peacefully step back into my closet under the guise of keeping my private live private.
I urge all gay athletes, politicians, entertainers and other highly public and influential people to loudly announce their sexuality. This is not a gay agenda but a question of equal rights for all people. By speaking out they provide role models and become mentors for those young people who feel alone and scared. Although they, by utilizing their money and fame, may be able to provide themselves with safe enclosures, they have a responsibility to others who cannot.
The irony of people urging us to keep our sexual orientations to ourselves is that the more the subject is vocalized, the more we talk about it, the more commonplace it will become. We will cease to have a need to announce it because it will just be. Out, open and as beautiful and inspiring as love between two people should be.