aren’t you glaad?

har har, pun. i’m sorry. anyway.

a nifty little article in the salt lake tribune this morning stated that overall, support for gay rights is on the up and up in the u.s. (http://www.sltrib.com/ci_11141429) the main reason? “knowing someone who is gay was the most common contributing factor.”

now, here’s a little question for all of you various sexualities out there: if straight, can you empathize with this? is there one shining gay in your life that changed your mind? or the exact opposite? for all you lgbt, do you think being visible has helped you in your life? hindered? for everyone: is visibility really the strongest tool to use for gay rights, and by extension, gay marriage? glaad (gay and lesbian alliance against defamation) seems to think so. get the pun now? 

the other night i was looking through old grade school class photos with my friend, who i’ll call jane. i have known jane since i was 6, and we’ve been friends ever since. from making embarrassingly  bad home movies, to paying an inordinate amount of money to drive to the spice girls concert in vegas last winter, we know each other quite well. 

making our way through the photos, we hit 3rd grade; not my most awkward of years, but definitely not my best portrait. upon seeing the picture, jane burst out laughing, almost expelling the wine we were drinking from her nose. “how could it be that anyone would have been surprised that you were gay?! my god, you’re wearing overalls and a flannel shirt! and your HAIR!”. ok, i didn’t have a mullet or anything, it was just short and blond. not even spiky. and i don’t remember choosing that outfit, so i’ll place that blame squarely on my mother’s head. however, the single lightning bolt earring i was wearing was enough for me to drink a little more. i knew that one was my doing. “seriously, i even knew back then. you weren’t fooling anyone”, she said. and moved on to 4th grade.

apparently, i was visible at the tender age of 9 without even knowing it. my lesbian-ness, even then, and even when i came out, never stopped jane from loving me and always being my friend. now, i guess i’ll never really know if i helped her in her thoughts of support of lbgt people, or if she was just loving and supportive straight from the womb (which is likely). regardless, in the end, it was jane that helped me to be comfortable enough to come out. 

so people, it works both ways. just love the people that you love. and that goes for everyone. because regardless of my being gay, jane and i would have been friends: getting grounded together, drinking tea together, and trying to crack the security code on my parents cable box at the age of 15 to watch cinemax together. in the end, visibility makes lbgt people just like everyone else. which we are. right down to embarrassing childhood photos.

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