Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Step Forward

I remember this fear like it was yesterday. I remember the feeling like I might burst open, any moment, and expose this secret -- and I trembled at the thought of the reaction. It dominated my every thought, pushed me deeper and deeper into this hole in my head. So I let it out.

And even though the reaction wasn't anything like this man's father, nine years later, I'm so glad I did. 

I cried watching this. I cried for my own experience, how much it hurt, for the wrecked relationship I have with my own family, for how very much I wanted (and still want) to hear this exact reaction. I cried for this man, thousands of miles from his family, for his excitement at the end of DADT and the fear in his voice as he asks, "Can I tell you something? Will you still love me no matter what?" I cried for that Alabama accent, and for the people who make the South a place I love to live. I cried for those of us who didn't get that reaction, and those of us who feared the worst but instead found support and love. I cried for those who spoke to me this week, telling me the mean, painful, and antagonistic comments their parents and friends made in reacting against their gender identity and sexual orientation. I cried because somehow, coming out gets easier with each successive person. But you never forget that first time. You never forget that first family member.

I send my love to Germany tonight, and to Troy Davis in Georgia. 

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