Sometimes I find myself in the midst or even on the edge of conversations where it becomes nearly impossible not to jump in and share. I usually refrain, but not without sometimes having to do something physically painful, like biting off a finger.
One such "conversation starter" that I hear repeatedly here in the great state of Oklahoma is "he turned gay". ????? Ok, I realize that not everyone has had the luxury of living in Gay Boot-Camp 101 the way I did for 7 years. But, come on...."turned gay"? And these are not religiously fundamentalist folks who are spouting this little turn of words. For the most part, these are reasonably educated people who just haven't taken the time to really think about the implications of their words.
Many of the religiously fundamentalist folks (even the educated ones) don't believe there's any such thing as a gay person to begin with. They've all ready got big banners printed up with the words "I TOLD YA SO" ready to take to the streets the next time there's a big earthquake in San Francisco. I won't even address that kettle of rotten fish.
I'll speak from my own experience which has been enhanced with a great deal of research, relationship with actual gay people (Christian ones, *gasp*), and actual time spent contemplating this stuff.
Tdub (Todd) didn't TURN gay. He was gay when I married him. In fact, he was gay during his first marriage-yes, the one where he fathered two sons. Apparently, the fact that he hadn't admitted to anyone, most importantly HIMSELF, that he was gay makes it appear to the very casual observer that he "turned" gay.
I went out with this guy a few weeks ago who, upon hearing a few scant details of my marriage history responded with "Well, you aren't going to turn me gay." There was a pause in the conversation big enough to drive a semi through, and in an act of grace almost as big as the one it took to stay married to Tdub, I simply let that go. Sometimes it's just not worth it, not to mention the fact that we had a really awesome dessert coming.
Tdub "came out", he didn't "turn gay". He did make choices that were different than the ones I was hoping for upon that decision. For him, coming to terms with the way that he had always been meant divorcing me and tearing our family apart. I'll not mince words here. However, I believe it was, for him, a matter of integrity and I choose to respect that decision and live with integrity in my own life. Love is patient, love is kind, love NEVER fails....even if others make decisions that hurt me.
Another really bothersome aspect of the whole "turned gay" opinion is that many times the people speak with great authority yet have nothing more than having watched TV to back up their belief. The closest many of them get to actually having any sort of relationship with a living, breathing gay person is some lady at work who had a son who "turned gay". You don't have to talk to them very long to figure this out. Nevermind that there's been scholarly research done on the subject as well as an internet chocked full of articles, studies, and anecdotal information of the sort I offer here. It would be like me giving you my opinion of the Vietnam War based on nothing more than having watched M*A*S*H reruns....and yes, I realize that show was set in Korea!
The bottom line is this; I could no more "turn gay" than I could turn into a purple bunny rabbit. And if I WERE a purple bunny rabbit, I would hope that the other bunnies would allow me to live among them free of shame and able to make decisions about my bunniness that did not include trying to "turn" me into something I never was.
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