As a black gay man, growing up I was constantly told by society that my love was not valid and part of me unconsciously believed that to be true gospel. That false truth lingered in the back my mind and has caused me much delay in my adult life. I neglected to embrace a huge chunk of myself which gave rise to a voice in my head called “self-hatred”. It’s because of my self-hatred that I’ve struggled to build substantial relationships with other men. I was always at war with myself which caused me to be distant and depressed.
Like most people when they first come out of the closet I was very eager to experience the joys of romance for the first time. However, it became apparent right away that I needed to mend the broken relationship with myself before I could build a relationship with anyone else. So with that self awareness I dedicated most of my twenties to healing my relationship with myself and ultimately freeing myself from the “sunken place” which is actually a more accurate term for what we call, “the closet”.
For a long time I resented straight peoples ability to openly show affection towards their lovers in public. It frustrated me because it seemed very unfair. My love doesn’t get the same freedom to openly express itself the way they get to. I know that many gays do it anyway but they do so while aware of the risk. It’s the presence of those risks that infuriates me thus igniting my desire to want to push back. But instead of pushing back, I keep my anger to myself and I bide my time. I know that it can be seen as cowardly but it’s a survival tactic that is necessary when living in such hostile environments surrounded by enemies.
Does it make me a coward to want to survive? From the outside looking in i’d think so simply because I constantly remain near my hiding space. But when you step into my “hiding space” you’ll see that I am not just some frightened kitten. In the pursuit of victory, one major key is knowing how to pick and choose your battles. When I go into hiding, I’m sitting with my counsel of advisers and together we plot and plan our approach to this complex situation that we all live in. Here in this space I’m also focused on healing my wounds, finding my courage and building my strength so that when the time comes I am ready for battle.
In order to obtain victory you must first survive so that you are able to achieve your victory. Going into enemy territory announcing your position is foolish. Going into battle wounded and weak is foolish. You’ve gotta be smart and aware of the greater picture. This fight against bigotry and hate isn’t about me or you, it is about our rights as human beings to live and love freely.
In defense of parents/guardians who struggle to accept their gay loved ones. I believe for a lot of them the rejection of their gay loved one is done so out of fear. Many of these parents know the dangers that LGBTQ+ people face every single day and naturally they want to protect their loved one from harm. Many of these guardians are guilty themselves of causing some form of harm to a member of the LGBTQ+ community. So they are deeply connected to the evil spirit that exists in bigots.
While their efforts to protect their loved one is noble, they fail to realize that they do more harm by trying to repress and deny their loved one of their essential human right to just be. Instead of the outside world harming them they end up harming the very thing they’ve sworn to protect.
As a guardian, if you want to protect your loved one you do so by bestowing them with the courage, strength and tools to protect(and love) themselves. You can’t always shield your loved one from reality so instead you support them, prepare them, fight next them and defend them. Give up the idea that you can control who and what your loved one is. Just like you are who you are, your loved one is who they are.
In the end, I know that we’ve made a lot of progress when it comes to human rights and I celebrate those victories whenever possible. I’m still however very conscious of the reality that we have so much more work ahead of us and I myself am doing my work to help push that progress forward.
If we ever hope to save our future we must disrupt the cycle of hate and violence towards those whom we don’t understand. We must teach compassion and empathy for others. We want for our children to be the very best versions of themselves and to coexist with others peacefully without fear of harm or judgement. To put it simple, we must stop passing down fear and hate. Bury the evil in the past where it belongs.