I'm a heterosexual, African American, South Georgian male. These are just a few of the characteristics that I have chosen to share about myself today. And I choose theses three because I feel these are three I could not change no matter how hard I may try (not that I'm trying). I could experiment with the same sex (nope not interest in it); pretend to be another race (but my best attempts always can be seen as fake); and even move to other part of
Georgia or the (have done that, but as soon as I speak, people ask/think "hmm your not from around here are you?"). United States
So I have come to feel that this IS me and no way to change it. I was born this way and HEY either I embrace it or struggle to change it.
I was blessed to be born in a family that accept me for my black male tomfoolery, "playa playa pimp pimp" mentality growing up. I was given (butt still sore) morals and taught right from wrong, attended church every Sunday (Even when on Christmas "yep" but that's another story), and studied hard in school passed and went to college. But this was a good thing right? I was allowed (sorta) to become who I am.. to be a positive asset to my community, valued for my opinions (I do have a lot of those too), advice, and thoughts. And this was a good thing right? Well my first answer was "Yes." But then I presented this question by one of my children a while ago.
Question: "Well Mr. James, what if YOU had to tell your family whom hated you..that you were gay? Would you want to tell them this?"
I though about this for a while and then I stated "Yes I would tell them. I would tell them because your sexual orientation is just one of your characteristics. I know in a normal situation you would be with your parents whom have reared you since you were born, provided you with some sense of stability, and wanted the best for you. They would want you to be happy and address your "coming out" as a loving family would. But your not in this situation. Your sexual orientation maybe an issue with the family your trying to go with. They may have great issues about this and feel so uncomfortable in their own sexuality, have religious convictions, or just plain phobias that they may say subtle things that discriminate, be just plan out right mean, or try and "fix" you which I don't consider anything wrong with you and really isn't their place to address."
The child looked at me and stated, " I hear ya, Mr. James. But it's not fair. You didn't have to tell your family that you like girls did you? "
I responded, " No, I didn't"
He followed, "Then why does it matter who I like. So what if their uncomfortable, they should love me for who I am not who I love. My family state they are Christians and all that stuff. That they would love me regardless. But when It comes to me living with them..It's NO."
By then the child have become to shed tears and shake.
I know, I responded, " It's really unfair to ask you to share such a personal part of your life to them. But we have to remember, who you like is a part of you just like your skin color. You can't change it and it be a natural part of you. You can't be honest with who you are unless you can be WHO you are. And where you are living effects how easily you can be who you are."
After a few minutes, the child stopped crying and looked away gazing out the car window as I drove towards our destination.
Now today when I think back to our conversation, I wonder how much WHO I am is based on my rearing. Is it really fair to say that I'm heterosexual by choice or by birth. Would I be any different If was reared by a non traditional family (male/male, female/female or even single parent)? I believe that true sexual orientation is biological. And it's really unfortunate that at this point in our country it's just a big of a debate as the right for women to choose what to do with their bodies. It's used as platform for votes, to deny citizens rights, and even to deny potential families from rearing children.
When I think about the child I was talking with, I can't help and think how much easier placements would be if the child's orientation was considered the norm. How unwanted behaviors wouldn't be blamed on orientation. How the poor child wouldn't be considered a "threat to society, family or little children." How this is so unfair, but hey that's a choice that is made by the child and with choices comes consequences right?
So today my questions are who is responsible for the orientation for the child? If only heterosexuals can make babies and more heterosexuals rear children than homosexuals, so where is the "unwanted" orientation coming from?