19 Years Old

If gay marriage had been an option when I was young would I have made different sorts of decisions?

Would I have behaved differently?

Would I have looked for a serious relationship with another man to whom I would have proposed, married and had children..rather than leaping from one man to another…exhausting each and every one of them?

If that narrative had been on offer, as it is now, would I have married Joe or Matt or the beautiful Dane?

Joe and I were as good as married but it was a marriage of convenience.

If I had believed that a commitment between men was possible or respected or had some kind of future, perhaps I wouldn’t have wasted other opportunities.  I may have stuck around.

Did I even trust the love that dare not speak its name?  The legitimacy of love between men?

When I hear a man say, ‘I love you’ it turns me on.

Tell me that you love me.

I will make love to you.  Be part of you.

When I was a young man I felt hopeless, convinced that this strange love was simply…pointless. That to say ‘I love you’ to another man…meant nothing, could never mean what it meant when I loved a woman.

But you’re gay!  Did she know?  This woman.

One woman in particular.

When I fell in love with PH, it was a surprise to everyone…me included. She was so beautiful. She was so beautiful and she wanted me. There are very few things I do not write about here. She is one of them. Our relationship that spanned half a decade.

After years of enjoying a gay life I saw the world renewed. I looked into her eyes and I never wanted to forget her face. Every time I left the house I would memorize an indelible snapshot of her.

When we were in love every record played on the radio meant something. Holding hands in the street and never once a strangers savage glance…my love blossomed. Without the withering contempt of strangers my love blossomed.

Do you know what I mean? Whenever I held a man in my arms in a public place I felt the withering contempt of others. Have you ever felt that? It soured me. What other people thought.

Biracial couples know what I mean.

The artist, Marc Quinn said to me when he saw me and Phil together, “I knew you weren’t gay.”

That was then. This is now.

Before he and I stopped speaking he told me that he had met a man in Central Park and kissed them. They held him in their arms. He told so many lies yet somehow this lie was forgivable. He told me that it had happened before I met him…but I knew from the look on his face how new and exhilarating it had been.

An experience that he wanted to share but was too afraid of hurting me.

Well, we may never know how it might have been if I had the luxury of marrying a man.

Time has past, now I am too old to fall in love and make a man my husband.

Darling PH, even though we are estranged at the moment because of what happened last summer with him.  I want you to know that had you not been in my life I would never have experienced a brimming heart.

You trusted me and nurtured me and protected me and loved me unconditionally.

Watching my young gay friends emerge into the light, they have a different sort of gay life on offer.

During the past 50 years life for gay men has changed radically. When I was born homosexuality was still a criminal offence. So, I was lucky to have grown up without my sexuality outlawed.

This generation of gay men are freer than any generation before them. I salute the work we did to make a more equitable life for them.

Occasionally I am pissed that the young don’t recognise the sacrifices we made..but I am also aware that I seldom give a thought to those who fought for me to live a free and abundant gay life.

As much as I hate to remind you, these rights and freedoms could be taken away just as easily as they were given. We must not take our good fortune for granted. There are dark forces at work against us.

It’s election time!  Here they go again, debating my future, my expendable rights.  Using their disdain for our lives to get votes.  Championing gay hate to ‘motivate their base’.

Listen to what they say about us.  The cruel rhetoric they use.

I am tired of being the liberal hot potato thrown around at times of national debate/election.

Gay marriage, gays in the military, hate crimes, equality.

And finally mr/mrs republican candidate…what do you think of the gays?  Is this the kind of America we want to call our home?   We want our country back from the niggers and the faggots!

We are once again the devil’s proof of an evil, liberal America, a decadent America, a democratic America that Jesus would never sanction.

Apparently, like abortion, we must be outlawed.

I am sick of having my nature, my rights, my existence used by others in some heartless polemic.

Read my lips:  My rights are non-negotiable, un-repealable….mine to keep.

If you vote Democrat I am not proof positive of a better America. If you are Republican I am not responsible for every natural disaster.  I am just what I always was…alive. Doing what I always did…living. Hoping like I always will…that you leave me and my sexuality alone.

Some woman on FB reassured me that Jesus loved me but hated my sin.  The sin of homosexuality.  The Jesus I was taught about on Sunday mornings in St Alphage church Whitstable never really hated anyone.

All he wanted was a fair and equitable life for us all.