You were totally off-base with your advice to T.C., the gay man who doesn't want to be gay. Instead of encouraging him to follow his heart, you told him to keep lying to people. This is total disservice to him, the women he's "playing" and to the gay community.
Legalizing gay marriage moved America one stop forward. Your letter took us two steps back. Way to blow a teachable moment.
Thanks for getting in touch. When responding to T.C.'s letter, I took into consideration the very concerns you have expressed. Given his fear and reticence, I didn't sense that he would be open to the suggestion, "Just be okay with being gay."
And based on his feelings and his experiences, I can't say that I blame him.
As a straight woman, my biggest vulnerability is wondering whether or not the guy I'm hot for likes me back. T.C., in contrast, would not only have to "out" himself every time he wants to know if a man is interested, he'd also have to worry about getting his ass kicked as part of the rejection process.
As a straight woman who's currently going through a breakup, I am grieving the end of a romantic relationship. T.C., on the other hand, would be grieving the end of a romantic relationship and be facing the disapproval of his family and friends.
Sure, one could argue that the same thing could be true for straight people, but when you're gay and you don't have the support of your loved ones, the words "I told you so," take on a whole new meaning.
What I wanted to tell T.C. more than anything —but couldn't because we ran out of column space—is that when I was 11 years old, my older sister told me that she and her roommate Ella were lovers.
At first I was totally uncomfortable, not so much because she and Ella were lesbians, but because I was in 5th grade and worried about what my friends would think. Ella had been hanging out with us for a couple of years at that point and we all thought of her as our cool older sister. I was worried that they wouldn't like her (or me) anymore.
About 30 minutes after our talk, my sister and I met Ella for lunch. Surprisingly, I was relieved when Ella walked into the restaurant.
My sister had been painfully uncomfortable during our conversation, but Ella was her usual, funny, super-cool self. From that moment on, I enjoyed their company and never felt awkward about their relationship again.
You can't always teach people to think differently by using words; sometimes they need to be inspired by example. Ella's confidence inspired me not to be afraid of what other people think and to love her and my sister even more that I thought possible.
It's my hope that T.C. will find someone like Ella who inspires him into loving himself, so that he can open his heart to someone special. Whether that someone is man or a woman is irrelevant; what matters most is that it's someone who makes him feel like he's found his home.
Thanks again for your insights, Becky. Much love and light to you!