I guess there is a level of defiance in me, which spurs me to take on bigotry in every form, and point it out so all can see it for what it is.
This Little Light Of Mine
A Gay Opinion 7/12/01
by R.A. Melos
"I don't want seven year-old children exposed to that [homosexuality]," said Bill O'Reilly on his television program, The O'Reilly Factor, airing on Fox News on July 11, 2001.
The topic of discussion pertained to homosexuality and the Boy Scouts, and Mr. O'Reilly was all for protecting the innocent children, shielding them, if you will, from a very real part of life. He felt children of that age were too young to be exposed to potential child molesters, sexual deviants, what have you.
I was never a Boy Scout. My first confrontation with what I would come to understand as my own sexuality, occurred when I was six years of age. I was in the second grade in the New Jersey public school system, and no, I was not molested or influenced in any way by an adult. My first exposure to homosexuality was in the form of two words, queer and fag. I didn't know the meanings of these words, which were hurled at me as an ugly epithet by my fellow six year-olds.
I don't know if it's arrogance or ignorance which spurs men such as Bill O'Reilly, and all those like him, to suggest groups such as the Boy Scouts, and I must think he means for society in general as well, to adopt a policy of "don't ask, don't tell." I make the assumption about society form a further comment he made a few moments later, stating how he thought homosexuals should not have pride parades, or flaunt their sexuality in the face of mainstream society, which doesn't want to know about homosexuality.
In his view, as it came across at 4:30 in the AM, homosexuals should respect the wishes of mainstream heterosexuals to keep their sexuality private. Private, I take it, means closeted.
As I watched this man pontificate, I have never been more happy to be an out and proud homosexual. While Bill O'Reilly and I, as does the rest of the human race, share basic DNA, I, and a large group of human beings, have that little something extra which makes us special. I'm not saying it makes us smarter than an obviously bigoted journalist on a late night television forum, just special.
I was appalled by his bigotry, until I realized how foolish he made himself look by supporting a position of secrets and lies, er, don't ask, don't tell. Yes, the message he would send to the Boy Scouts is one of lying. After all, what is a secret but a form of withholding information, and in my opinion that makes a secret a form of a lie. Mr. O'Reilly is advocating lying as an acceptable way of life, because heterosexuals, as he claims, don't want to know about it [homosexuality].
Mr. O'Reilly, and I'm sure many people who think like him, would prefer the
Boy Scouts, and organization which advocates truth, adopt a policy of lying
to protect children from dealing with the issues of homosexuality.
Well, as I stated, I was not a Boy Scout when I first heard the words queer and fag used in a derogatory manner toward me. Maybe I was more sheltered than my seven year-old peers? However, I didn't know the meaning of the words so obviously I couldn't be whatever those words meant, since I viewed myself as no different from the children who were calling me names.
Perhaps, if homosexuality had been discussed more openly in 1970, I might not have gone through the many years of confusion and emotional pain caused by my self-denials. Perhaps, in a more understanding society, I would've identified publicly as a homosexual and thrived instead of spending much of my life allowing myself to be brainwashed by a bigoted society into believing there was something wrong with me.
If it looks like I'm blaming mainstream society for the years of mental anguish I suffered at the hands of my six and seven year-old peers, its because I am blaming mainstream society for the mental anguish and emotional confusion of my youth.
I wasn't a Boy Scout, but truth and honesty mean everything to me. By suggesting homosexuals shouldn't "flaunt" their sexuality in parades or announce it, he is suggesting not only we live our lives as liars, but also demanding we only be honest with ourselves in the secrecy of our own homes.
After all, we can't be seen publicly holding hands, or kissing, or showing any form of affection for each other, the way heterosexuals do without even a thought as to where they are, since those public acts would mean homosexuals were capable of truth and honesty in emotional matters.
The ideal mainstream society Bill O'Reilly spoke of would make all homosexuals into liars, which is something all homosexuals have to overcome, since we all, when first confronted with our sexuality, most likely as children by other children, when we don't know enough about our feelings to even give them a name, deny the statements.
The Boy Scouts tout bravery as a virtue, along with truth and honesty. The bravest act any homosexual commits is to come out of the closet and publicly accept themselves as homosexuals, and then live their lives openly, honestly, and truthfully. Thus, the best example of the beliefs the Boy Scouts wish to instill in the youth is given to them by out and proud homosexuals, because they are being honest and truthful in facing a society which encourages lying about sexuality, showing homosexuals truly embody many of the virtues the Boy Scouts hold dear.
The mainstream society of Bill O'Reilly's mind may not wish to acknowledge homosexuality, and they don't have to, but I will not allow anyone to make a liar out of me simply because they are uncomfortable with who I am. And I encourage all homosexuals out there, and those still closeted, to let their inner light of truth and honesty shine. Come out and let that special light of truth and honesty shine bravely for all the world to see. Don't allow anyone to pressure you into diminishing your light of truth and honesty with secrets and lies.
As always, I challenge the homosexual community to come out, to stand up and be counted among the brave, the honest and true. Your light matters as much as any other light, and your life matters as much as any who would encourage you to hide and lie for their self-deluded peace of mind.
I wasn't a Boy Scout. I am a homosexual. I don't need a merit badge to prove it. All anyone has to do is ask me. I'll always tell you the truth.