Straight Guy’s Shame

I love gay men.

I’m not even going to backtrack and say “Whoa…in a platonic way.” If you want to think I’m gay, go right ahead.

In fact, please think I’m gay. I’d consider it quite a compliment. I can count on one hand the gay men and women I’ve met in my life that I haven’t liked.

Unfortunately, I didn’t used to be so open minded about such things. Oh sure, I’ve always been fond of gay people and gay culture, but the fact that people would think I was gay used to bother me. In fact, a rumor that was spread about me and another guy in high school was downright distressing at the time.

It’s embarrassing to admit it now. I could blame it on the expectations put on you as an American male, but I’m a man responsible for his own actions and decisions. So, I can admit that the way I acted was totally hetero.

Note: About 12 years ago I was hanging out with some friends playing video games. For whatever reason, I referred to something negative as being “Totally gay.” Of course it was then that it dawned on me that the gay friend sitting next to me on the couch holding the Nintendo 64 controller might not appreciate that statement. He didn’t acknowledge it (I’m not even sure it registered) but I felt horrible. From that day on as a way to break the habit, my straight friends and I have referred to lame things as being “Hetero.”

Anywho, back to high school and this rumor. It wasn’t true, and in hindsight it shouldn’t have mattered if people thought it was. Chalk it up to a regret that I wasn’t wise enough to see that back then.

Another regret? I wish I’d stood up for the gay kids who were bullied in my school.

So…where are you going with this, Gordon? Good question. The reason I even brought up the issue was Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” project. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, it’s an initiative to tell gay teens who are being bullied that life gets better after high school. I think it’s brilliant.

Now, I’m not naïve enough to think that homophobia is going to go away in my lifetime. But, I am naïve enough to think that more straight people standing up for gay teenagers might make them think twice before doing something drastic.

So, I’m here saying, “You’re here, you’re queer, let’s play some video games.”

And if anyone doesn’t like it, tough s**t. Those jerks are totally hetero anyways.

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