The joyride

In IDS on November 16, 2010 at 8:29 am


Joyriding is what I call it. All my life, strangers have had fun yelling at me from cars.

They catch me off-guard, call me names, try to dissolve me into nothing.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been told that I’m too much. The first thing people see is the color of my skin. I’m African-American, so I can’t master English.
I’m gay, so I’m a freak of nature. Even worse, I’m not afraid of who I am.

I don’t mope down the street. I strut.

A palm reader once warned me that if I didn’t avoid extremes I would perish. That was her word: “perish.” Another time, a friend’s mother urged me to stop being gay in front of her husband and sons.

“Can you turn off the sexuality?” she said. “Because it offends the boys.”
Her suggestion was bewildering. It wasn’t as if I was prancing around in a tutu.
I didn’t buy that attitude then, and I don’t buy it now. Why should I have to hide so other people feel comfortable?

It took me forever to get to where I am today. I’m learning how to be myself with all I’ve got.


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