My parents sexually and emotionally abused me for many years and this year for my 42nd birthday the bigots told me they don't approve of my life. These same people told me not to date black people because they would be very disappointed if either my sister or I "Brought one home". My mother while walking through China Town clasp her purse to her chest in fear that suddenly a roving gang of four foot women were going to attack her for no reason other then they were different or not good clean white people. There was a time when my mother would have done anything to stop me from being a feminine sissy; and I mean anything. They took me to a psychiatrist to cure me of my affliction and then in later years told me it was because they wanted to raise me as their gay son. Is that why they donated to prop 8? Do they think that learning from the best liars I have ever met doesn't let me know a lie when I hear it? Do they think that spreading hate is really how Jesus; a man of peace and unity; would want them to treat their own child?
I was adopted at 10 months and brought up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. It was easy to hide what happened in the home from neighbors and friends. My Femininity was not easy to hide. Instead it made me stick out like a sore thumb. There was a shack out back of some neighbors house. It is there that I would be raped by the teenagers of the neighborhood. My parents saw me withdrawing and struggled to know why. I hated leaving the house and was terrified of other boys. I was equally as terrified of the abuse at home and just shrank. I have very little memory of any happy times or sad times from my early years. I have shadowed images of fear and haunted dreams and no more. For me my life began at 15 when I had my first gay friend and after I went to college. As soon as I had some people start telling me that I was a person and not a shell I began to come around. Actually coming around for me was totally anarchist rebellion against the world.
I was consumed by a fear and sadness that found its voice in punk rock and later parties and random sex and just general abusive behavior. Now I see that I was just rebelling against the lies and hypocrasy of the life I had not lived before. I was on my own but had no idea how to love myself. I was a stunted half human lost in a sea of self loathing and pity. I craved love but thought it came along with violence and emotional torture. I had no self worth and certainly very little ego. I would just live from abuse to abuse that I created for myself and always cared so little about how my action effected others. I was a cruel child with a vicious tongue causing pain. I was an open sore festering in the dark of my damaged childhood. That fit well with the punk attitude in general and I was blessed with features that get me by so I survived.
Recently however I have been able to realize what it is I was doing with this destructive behavior and work my way through. My friend once said "You should be proud of yourself because you have done all this on your own." I had never realized what it was that I have done. I have survived and over come insurmountable hardships and become the person I was meant to be. This change has come from working within the gay community and sharing my voice within its confines and now sometimes even in the world at large. I have found myself through the Queer Communities eyes and found the place where I feel safe enough to continue to grow and push and reach higher. I am becoming whole.
My partner of 4 years has really helped me in this as well. I had no idea what it was to trust someone even if I knew he wasn't going to like what I was saying to him. He hasn't left, or beaten me, or raped me or any of the things that my Christian parents did. Our love is not perfect but it is an honest and true relationship that brings me closer to whom it is that I can be. By finally allowing myself to trust another person I am the happiest I have ever been. I am still often the scared child who shuts down but there is someone every morning waiting to pull me from the darkness. Once my mother said that "Your relationship certainly is nothing like your fathers and mine." She is right. My relationship is not about hiding or lying or any of the hate that my parents and their sanctified "christian" moral relationship is about. I consider myself lucky to be in a healthier place that them. I am proud that I did not die at my own hands due to their punishment and have found myself because the days are happy and I am healing and I am starting to be able to give back to the world instead of take.
I am also starting to say no and know why I am saying it. I continue to put myself out there every day now even though I still find the world a hostile place to be. I do it because I can and that is a gift I never expected. Through the time I have learned just how incredibly strong I am; not weak like I was told. When someone wants to abuse me I now have the power to stop that abuse right there. I still waffle because I want people to like me or am afraid that I will loose other people in severing ties. I also know however that if I don't take care of myself that I can't give back and that is my main objective today. To give back.
I'm not perfect and I shouldn't ever expect to be. I am strong and capable and if I make a mistake I acknowledge it make amends and move on. If I should stumble at that it has to be ok as well. I trust myself enough to know what to do and honor both myself and others. I am proud of myself today. I would never have believed it possible, and without the Queer community it wouldn't have been.