Wednesday, September 14, 2011

living as a political statement...

Something I heard a lot growing up was some variation of "you're not one of THOSE Mexicans."  People who said it generally meant that I was "ok" in polite society because, I guess, I didn't speak Spanish and didn't hang out with Mexicans who did.

A variation I soon learned was the "I don't mind gay people, I just don't understand why they have to flaunt it."  As a young man, I agreed. Pride Parades were unseemly (why so much glitter? Why the speedos? In retrospect, there was a part of me that really WANTED to wear Speedos, but knew I didn't have the body for them...oh if only young, twink Adam knew what middle-aged Adam does about my body...I'd have rocked the speedos the church and the grocery store!)  And why did "all" gays have to be so damned effeminate? (I had never considered that there were plenty of "masculine" gays that I simply didn't know were gay because I had defined "gay" as "effeminate" to begin with...but I digress...)

I never really questioned what "flaunting it" meant.  Having made the assumption they were talking about parades, I never really questioned the other thousands of "flaunts" that people make in every day life.  The first time this really hit me was two years ago or so when I was in DC with my boyfriend of the time, David.  We went to Arlington Cemetery where I now, unfortunately, have friends buried.  We spent the day walking the cemetary, visited graves, and made our way back to the subway. While we were waiting for the train, I broke down in tears. David hugged me and gave me a very chaste kiss on the forehead.  A man with his sons on the platform with us made a disgusted "guffaw" noise and said something similar to "Do they have to do that here?" and took his sons around the corner to protect him from our blatant display of...what?

That was the first inclination I had that my very "life"...the simple things that one does on a daily basis, would be by definition, "political".  I had two choices--to make a constant decision about everything I did that I should hide one aspect of myself, or to live like anyone else, but know that the perception would be (ironically) that by making the one-time decision NOT to hide something, everything I did would be perceived as a "political statement" or, "flaunting."

Peter and I had our moment in Austin. One night, Peter, Timothy and I were walking down the street. It was the first or second night that Peter and I were un-officially together and that feeling of euphoria that you get when you realize how much you like someone, and he's new and amazing to your life, sets in.  We had gone to a bar and were walking to a friend's house from there.  Peter and I were holding hands and, as we passed a restaurant, we let go.  I don't remember who said it first, but we noticed that we had done it without thinking or saying anything--we were hiding who we were so as not to "flaunt."  The decision was made then that we would never do that again, and we have stuck by that.

I am half-way through an article on Salon about a lesbian couple who moves from NYC to the suburbs of upstate.  A lot of what she describes I feel a very strong connection to.  When the cable guy or the plumber comes, and you don't want to deal with that look of recognition, in your own house, that you are somehow "other"'s very well written and struck a chord with me.

I've been told my blog is political...and it is. But my life is political. I have no choice in that. By choosing to simply BE, without hiding anything, without changing anything, and without fear, that is in itself a political act.  And, until things change, as they slowly are, my life will be a statement.


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