Saturday, January 25, 2020
I have blogged about this before but sometimes we make the mistake of judging ourselves in this time frame, using today's standards for mistakes we made years ago. That's unfair to our younger self because of two things, first we didn't have all the life experience to draw from, how many times now, do we find ourselves in a bad situation and it makes us kick into gear and do the things we wished.. would have been known to us back then. We also learn from watching others, knowledge is power and as we get older it's about the only power that increases for us.
The second thing that is unfair when judging our younger selves, is the time frame. Things that are good now, start to give us a false sense that they have always been good and that we just didn't grasp it at the time. However that's not true and I was reminded this week of past issues that were quite serious. I will talk about judging myself regarding being gay but being overly harsh on your younger self can apply to anyone about anything. I had been feeling sorry for myself after reading Sixpence's blog post regarding what a little tramp he was at an early age... and I say that with a little envy. My old feelings of wasting my life started up again. I hate the fact that as far as my gay life was concerned, I pretty much deleted it until reaching my forties.
I was listening to an interview with a woman about something horrible that happened to her. She is only a couple of years older than me. In 1984 when she turned 19 she joined the Canadian military, with the goal of becoming an army medic, she did very well in her training and was accepted gladly into a program to reach her dream. One day two men came to the base, arrested her, handcuffed her and dragged her off to an interrogation room. There they kept asking her if she was gay. Only a young woman, alone and 19, she was smart enough to say no. A few days later they pulled her in and did this again. Finally one of the men said that if she admitted the truth, they just wanted to know either way and she would be fine, nothing would happen to her. However if she lied and they found out after that she was lying, things would be really bad for her. She confessed to being confused about being gay. She was given a dishonorable discharge from the military and told that she can never apply for any type of government job for the rest of her life for being gay.
She was being interviewed because they are going to build a monument to remember the LGBTQ purge that happened from the 1950s until 1990 by the Canadian government. It sounds unbelievable that it was still happening in 1990 here in Canada. I was reminded of that being the mindset of the day, I would have been a kid still in high school. I can't imagine little shy, quiet, naive me... being dragged into a dark room with a bright light stuck in my face, "ARE YOU GAY!!! Are you GAAAY"??? That's the time frame we were in back then.
The other thing I have to remember is that gay people were dropping left, right and center with some new disease called AIDS. Nobody knew what the heck was going on. People were terrified that mosquitoes would transfer the virus, that swimming in a public pool would give you the virus or being on a crowded bus. I remember hearing the warnings to keep away from gay men, they were carriers like sick foxes or skunks with rabies. I remember a woman saying, gay people should all be put on an island and left to die, segregated from "normal" people, she said that she is not heartless, we can drop food but keep them away from everyone else. Aids was lurking behind every tree, just waiting to pounce on a young gay man like me, exposing me to everyone I knew as the hidden deviant amongst them.
I have to keep remembering those days, we were being hunted, we were something that looked human but were a damaged subhuman, we were a scourge to be left to die on an island. Growing up in the country was even more isolating. I have to forgive that Steven, he was a child becoming a man and he was in survival mode, actually I should be proud of that kid, he did this all on his own with no guidance and came through it relatively sane. I have to recognize why he didn't believe it was safe to start coming out at thirty. Plus life threw a bizarre twist at him, where every single male friend he made, always turned out to be straight and that also makes a difference. I have to forgive that kid, I have to learn to forgive me.
Posted by Sooo-this-is-me at 12:06 PM
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
Awww, sniff! Because you are being so wonderfully honest and introspective, I've decided to be nice and not tell you to shut up and mop a floor. Learn from looking behind, but keep the past in the past. Push forward, you little lovable stinker.
We can't change the past, but can change and live for the future. Besides, I was 16 when I had sex with a guy first...scared the hell out of me.
Now as Deedles wanted to say.... shut up and go mop a floor tootes!
Ooooh, another Maddie sighting! This is so much better than Sask..Sasqu...uh, Bigfoot!
I remember being hunted right to the bed.
I try hard not to dwell on the past and think the 'What ifs,' because then you're stuck and you'll never move on.
Learn from the past, yes; remember it, yes; and then you won't make those mistakes again.
But I lived there once and have no desire to return.
Ahh the what-if club. Lifetime member here. Growing up in a catholic family of six boys, four of whom were really into sports, I didn’t know what to do about my attraction to boys. This was the 70s and we had the tight polyester pants in all the catalogs. It was my deep dark secret what I was doing with the catalogs in the bathroom.
How would things have been different for me if I had addressed those feelings in my teens/20s instead of having my first m/m experience in my 40s? We can’t judge our decisions back then. We have to believe we did the best we could. Accept that and the paths we’re on. Like you said, we have scores more life experience. And we’re better for it.
We all make mistakes, it's part of being human. The only ones who believe themselves perfect in this country are the Republicans and the Evangelicals, of course they also want to turn back time to the 1950's and 60' so they can judge you severely and lock you up
"Relatively sane", huh?
Deedles: It's spelled "Saskatchewan".
Let's not forget that we weren't dying of AIDS at first. At first it was "Gay Cancer", and then "GRID". But yes, those were difficult times. And you know, I do not blame the straights for freaking out, at least in the early years before we had a better idea of what HIV was and how it was transmitted. The next time there is some outbreak and government officials urge us to be calm and tell us that "oh no the virus can't be transmitted in that way," then I will probably be skeptical too. But at the same time, it was hard for the gays, and a lot of the reaction of the straights was in fact borne of ignorance, because the straights were convinced THEY didn't know any homosexuals. I remember a juggling act in this century where one of the punchlines was "I don't hate gays. Some of my best friends know gay people."
As for being questioned, the thing that stands out to me about that is that we STILL carry out interrogations in EXACTLY the same way, with EXACTLY the same lies ("Just confess. Nothing bad will happen to you." What nonsense). I am supposed to love the police for protecting property rights but I very much don't.
Thanks Lurkster. I never knew that Bigfoot was Canadian!
Bravo Lurker. Very well said.
You should be proud of surviving. You did what you had to do. That was your previous life. You have a great future ahead of you.
Guys, stop agreeing with me or Steven's going to chew me out again.
Do you think that Future Steven will forgive Present Steven for being too chicken to come out at work? Maybe Future Steven will convince himself that Present Steven was STILL scared of being dragged away and interrogated?
Lurker, I was looking at what you said about AIDS. Steven and his work persona is cemented and him coming out at work would have to be at a new job and new setting. I'll love him as he is. Though he needs to share those dick pics the guys have sent him.
I remember when my husband could not come out at work. That was only twenty years ago. There still is that "Good Ole Boy", xtian, white privileged middle and upper management that have control of future promotions and careers. Or even work atmosphere for that matter. The post I don't want to see from future Steven is "Steven The Bag Lady" because he took suggestions from cyber-people he will never know or are nut jobs. (You excluded of course. xoxo)
Although, we could set up a Go Fund Me page just in case.
Water under the bridge. Spilled milk. "Woulda, coulda, shoulda" is a fool's game. All we can do is focus on today and try to make our hopes, plans and dreams come true in the future.
Lately, I've been considering that one of the really nice things about getting old is that all those people who I made a fool of myself in front of or who went out of their way to punish or hurt me are now either all dead or got one foot in the grave. If I'm the only one left alive who remembers something, then fuck it, I'm golden! It's like it never happened.
Yes, Steven might have an oppressive workplace where coming out would threaten his career. Evidence for this includes: most of his coworkers expressing support for gays whenever the topic comes up at lunchtime, and other employees at the company successfully coming out as trans.
Debra: Let us not forget that Jesus is watching everything you do, and also Ceiling Cat watches some of the things you do.
Also you are wrong about getting old, because many of the people whom you spent time impressing (or those who appreciated you and your work) are also likely to be dead or have one foot in the grave. It's as if all that good sentiment never happened.
Well, maybe being a younger/newer follower here, perhaps I spoke out of turn.
I'm a great believer in "when we know better, we do better"
Christina, that doesn't explain MAGAts and corrupt politicians. Some people know better and don't care.
Don't apologise, Jimmy.
I am not trying to discredit the experience your husband went through. There still is an Old Boys Club, and there still are workplaces where it is risky to come out. But in many places cisgendered white gays are welcomed into the Old Boys Club, which is one reason Wall Street loves Pete Buttigieg.
Steven, my 40s were some of my most gloriously slutty years. Just saying.
Lurkie: I missed that article and I feel like I've given Pete a million bucks as well.
I'm guessing you are single, because it wasn't what my husband went through at work, it was what he and I went through as a couple while he was working for that company in a smallish community. It is a 24 hour a day game to not be out. I'm not good at lying but a master at being deceitful coming from the old days . And deceit is a hard pill to cope with long term.
I wish we'd discuss Stephens sexcapades. More fun.
Why do you think Steven's been so quiet this weekend? He's either visiting his mom, playing curling, or having sexcapades (but hopefully not all three at once). But I doubt we will hear about said sexcapades -- he saves those for his REAL friends on his other blog.
Coming out is (and was) difficult for some people.
Without the queens at Stonewall there would not be gay rights movement in the US.
Canada was no piece of cake either.
The whole world has had to move on and show progress and so have we.
I still think coming out is deeply personal. That is, unless the person is a vocal homophobe. Then, no holds barred.
Post a Comment