Tuesday, April 06, 2010

An Inkling of Lesbians

A friend of mine from high school came out as a lesbian tonight.


I should admit that that sentence requires a lot of explanation.

First of all, even though she is a friend of mine, I haven't spoken to her since the high school days of fourteen years ago.  We've become friends on Facebook in the last year, but that's only as intimate as seeing each other across the room and nodding reservedly.  Only somehow more anti-social, since you don't have to do anything but click a button.

Second, I don't know when she actually came out or if she even HAS to all her friends and family.  But thanks to the magic of inductive reasoning, I determined that she's a lesbian.  Mainly, I found pictures from her wedding ceremony, and she's kissing a woman. Your move, Mr. Holmes!

So while the introductory sentence is misleading and incorrect, it sums up where I am along the "realization continuum".  Up until tonight, I didn't know she was gay.  Granted, I don't really know her in her adult life.  But it was still sort of an "oh, really?" moment.

She's much more of a lesbian on her partner's webpage than on her own.  Her partner has many more photos of the two of them camping, dining, hugging, and laughing than she has posted.  Perhaps that's her own reserved way.

And as I looked at these pictures, enjoying the feeling of knowing my friend in a new way, my thoughts were arrested by a single one of the photos.  It's nothing as fancy as the dressed-up ones.  It's the two women, partially smiling as they try to kiss in that awkward way that people try to do when one person is standing behind the other person's shoulder, meaning the front kisser has to crane their neck over and around their own shoulder.

And though it's by no means the most effective way of kissing, it does make for a beautiful photograph.  And that's how my friend looks: beautiful.  And happy.

And that made me happy.

And then it made me sad.  Because there are people out there who think that this relationship represents the end of the world.  That it represents the proof of a culture who has abandoned God and turned their backs on morality and rules and law and nature and decided to live a life of hedonism and corruption.

Do you remember that gay marriage was THE defining issue in the 2004 presidential election?  Doesn't that feel kind of silly now?  It sure does to me.

And it feels that way because of my friend.  And the other people I know from high school who are gay.  And the fantastic person I work with who, as it happens, is openly gay.  And the hundreds of homosexuals I've met in various schools and various universities.

Sure, some of them have sex in ways that makes some people uncomfortable.  Sure, some behave in magically stereotype-conforming ways sometimes.  But mostly, they're just like my friend, who has an annoying significant other taking "action" shots while she makes Thanksgiving dinner.  Or gets caught on camera kissing quietly at a corner table.  Or runs to get Kleenex when the person she loves is crying.

It makes me sad because so many people hate her.  It doesn't matter that they've never met her.  It doesn't matter that she's a doctor.  All that matters is that she is an abomination!  That she chose to turn against nature and live this life...

... this life where she's happy.  And loved.  And where she possibly gets in arguments about who puts the cat out, or who washes the dishes on Tuesdays, or which paper to subscribe to, or whether or not someone works too much and doesn't care enough.  Is all the good and bad so sacrosanct that we can deny it to some while reserving it for others?

I don't believe so.  As someone who's spent his fair share of time trying to find an enduring happiness with the right woman, I know that half of everything is luck.  If -- after years of searching for what I wanted -- I'd found a place I was actually happy and felt like home, you can bet I wouldn't give a piping hot damn about anyone who said I was doing it wrong.

P.S.  Wouldn't an "inkling" be a great collective noun for a set of lesbians, like the pride of lions or unkindness of ravens?  Or the name of an off-kilter rock band...

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