In some way and on some level, this was my way of telling my heterosexual friends I do care about them, and was very glad they got married, but I'm still a very out and proud gay male, and was at a stage in my coming out when I needed to reiterate my pride to myself and everyone else.
I do understand, and hope everyone else does, homosexuals are not born with gay pride. Heterosexuals are not born with pride either, so it isn't an issue we need fight for later on. Pride is a self learned behavior, and something which every human being should have in themselves.
C'est La Vie:
A Gay Opinion 5/30/00
by R.A. Melos
A few articles back I wrote of my heterosexual friends who asked me to be
in their wedding. This is a kind of follow up, with more marriage opinion.
For a single gay male, not in a relationship, who doesn't date much, I seem to be giving the subject of marriage a lot of thought. Perhaps it isn't marriage, if I want to play the Bill Clinton semantics game, but rather the importance of commitment to which I am giving so much thought. After all, to me, and apparently many of the heterosexual men I know, marriage is synonymous with prison. I suppose I feel this way because of the societal attitudes I saw with all of my friends parents while growing up.
You know the attitudes I'm referring to, the jokes about how terrible marriage is, how much a man loses by marrying, etc.... The amazing thing is, I never heard my father make those jokes. My parents were married 35 years when my father died, and my mother has never even considered another man in her life before or since then, and that is the kind of committed relationship I am looking forward to in my life.
Perhaps I am a romantic, or a fool. My parents rarely argued, and did as they pleased always with the complete support of each other. My mother never mistrusted my father, or doubted his word when he told her he was going to be somewhere. She didn't see fit to either follow him, or to call the bowling alley and page him to make sure he was where he said he would be, nor did she have any reason to mistrust him.
In turn, my father never questioned my mother about her comings and goings when she went out. I grew up witnessing trust in one another, something I fear I may never find, for the fact is my generation, and those younger than I, don't seem to trust one another.
I do not say this lightly. I am an eavesdropper. As I sit in diners and waiting rooms, and just about anywhere where people are gathered, I listen to their conversations. I hear men complaining about their wives, discussing how they feel they are being used and cheated, and I hear women having the same discussions. So, I don't think I am wrong in this assessment of heterosexual relationships.
The wedding itself was something I never really gave much thought, yet many of my heterosexual friends put more thought into the planning of their wedding day than they did into the decision to marry. From what I've witnessed among my married/divorced/remarried heterosexual friends, the planning of "their perfect day," rivals the plans for the D-day Invasion, the Tet Offensive, Desert Storm, and most Army Navy football games all rolled into one.
My personal ideal wedding, something I realize I may never have the legal rights to do, and something I thought of as a perfect wedding long before I was even old enough to know what the deeper meanings of a wedding were, is to elope. Perhaps elopement is coming from my romantic nature, but the idea of meeting your ideal partner, deciding in an instant this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, dropping everything for the moment and running off to a Justice of the Peace who pronounces you married, is more romantic than spending one year of your life and your current life savings to give a party for a bunch of people most of whom you may never see again.
So obviously I hold most wedding ceremonies, and the post wedding parties, up there with the pomp and circumstance of the Fox Television bomb "Who Wants To Marry A millionaire?" In all fairness to Fox Television, the idea of marrying for money, and having it initially so well received, shows the level of respect most of society holds for the institution of marriage. The union between Rick Rockwell and Darva Conger was doomed before the first camera started to roll. Society was against them from the first time a director yelled "roll 'em," or "action," or whatever directors really yell.
If their union was a success, imagine how much more damaging it would've been to the institution of marriage. After all, it would've shown young people money is more important than love, trust, or commitment, to have a successful marriage based on greed. Of course, if you review the history of the human race, you'll find many unions were based on money. Then again, those unions took place back when women were considered chattel.
So now the issue of commitment is once again coming up, only now it is about commitments between partners of the same sex. I don't see where the sex of the partners matters, as long as they are both human (I don't want to hear from all you extraterrestrials, you'll get your chance to be the next "last acceptable prejudice" after the homosexuals have won all the rights we seek,) and they are willing to take all the risks any heterosexual couple would in the course of a marriage, all that really matters is the level of commitment one person feels for another in their hearts and minds.
Perhaps this is why I have such a hard time finding a potential life (or one night) partner. I was at a gathering the other evening where I was asked, in all sincerity, if I had ever accidentally told the truth? This question was posed with the mental concept one sets out to lie naturally, and the event of truth is obviously accidental, unintentional, and totally unnecessary.
After my initial reaction to this question, which was the thought that the person asking it was someone I never wanted in my life, in any way, ever again, I told them I never accidentally told the truth. My intentions were to always tell the truth, and leave the lying to those much more well versed in it. It may simply be, since I've been outed, I've lost the capacity to lie properly. When one has no secrets one has no reason to lie.
As to commitment, the concept of loving someone, heart, mind and soul, and committing yourself to another person, for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part, is not foreign to me. What is foreign is the idea that this level of commitment is so often never reached. Apparently most heterosexual marriages are entered into with the same level of commitment one has when buying a ticket to a movie. If you don't like what you are seeing, walk out.
I didn't opted to end my relationship with Mr. Right. He opted out of it because of his fears of societal rejection. Albeit my relationship was not the ideal situation to be in, but I was very committed to it. Not only was I committed to it, and to the idea of it, but I have become just as committed to the fight for equal rights for homosexuals including the right to marry.
To this end, I found it insulting when a heterosexual friend asked me to participate in his wedding. I now realize expecting him to understand my feelings is as impossible for him to do, as it is for me to understand his heterosexual desires. He and I talked about my feelings, and he told me he could replace me, if I wanted it that way. I said yes. He continued to tell me how he'd even read some of the "gay stuff" I write, and he accepted it.
I guess he didn't realize what he was saying, but I can understand where he's coming from. After all, some of my best friends are hets.