My old, straight lifestyle and my new, gay lifestyle are on a collision course. When they hit, will I survive the crash?
Today I witnessed a collision but not my own.
I went to the funeral of a distant cousin who I had suspected was gay for a few months. Mind you, he was a big, strong, strapping man and a former athlete but twice while out driving I saw him walking through neighborhoods that had large gay populations.
That in itself means nothing but the fact that it kept happening made me think there was more to it. Plus, as we got older he quit coming to family functions and his immediate family never spoke about him unless asked and said very little. I’ve noticed gay men sometimes isolate themselves from family.
“How is Tobias doing?”
“Oh, he is fine.”
“Well, why doesn’t he come to the family reunions?”
“Girl, he is so busy on that job we rarely see him ourselves.”
Well, at his funeral I saw who Tobias was spending so much time with. The family sat on the left side of the sanctuary and the right side was filled with many of Tobias’ friends. And many were clearly gay. White men with hair that was a little too neatly feathered and dyed. Effeminate black men with too tight pants and too pointy shoes. Guys with voices that were a little too high and airy.
In fact, one of the white guys shed more tears and sobs as he gazed at Tobias laying in the coffin than many of Tobias’ relatives.
But what iced the cake was when a guy I had hooked up with online walked into the church and right up the aisle to view the body.
“Wow,” I thought to myself. “People I have hooked up with are starting to show up at family functions. This is getting too close.”
After the funeral a few relatives whispered about all the gay folks at the funeral but Tobias’ sexuality was not openly discussed. I guess President Obama can get rid of “don’t ask, don’t tell” in the military but the rule still applies in day-to-day life.
My mother, when she heard the gossip at the repast after the funeral, said something that made me proud. I wish I had the courage to say it.
“So what if Tobias was gay,” she said. “That was his business. Y’all need to learn to mind your own business.”
All I could think about was myself. What will I do when my two worlds eventually collide and I am exposed to friends and family? Because eventually it will happen.