Okay, I'll admit it. I had fun writing this article. In fact, this is one of my favorite pieces. I wish all my writing could be this lighthearted.

Groundhog Day
A Gay opinion 2/02/01
by R.A. Melos

The other day my mother mentioned to me Punxsutawney Phil was going to come out on Friday. For one brief instance I focused on her phrasing differently than she meant it.

Wow! I replied. I didn't know he was gay.

Being in my playful mood, I ventured on, wondering if his groundhog friends knew, and how they would handle it? Would Staten Island Chuck, and Wiarton Willie, and Pothole Pete accept their fellow weather forecaster once he made that major step out into the sunlight?

More importantly, would Phil have the courage to go through with it? Would he have the courage to come out into the light, acknowledge his shadow and more forward, or would he see that shadow existence he must've been living, and scurry back into the safety of his burrow?

If he did have the courage to go through with it, how would he handle the press conference? How would he field the questions about having lived a double life for so long? What would he say when asked if he had a life companion? What would he say when asked about gay groundhog rights?

As an out gay male, I would applaud the bravery of the furry little fellow. After all, one could say, a groundhog coming out would be the ultimate coming out party. Consider the celebrating which would ensue, if he faced his shadow and openly accepted it? If he embraced his sexuality, he would become another gay hero, and the homosexual community would have another high profile spokesperson.

Of course, I also thought of the down side of such an announcement. Even if Phil had supportive friends, like Willie, Pete and Chuck, would all the forest creatures be as accepting? After all, there has always been some underlying jealousy over the popularity and fame which accompanies the already over publicized appearance of the fuzzy fellows.

Do we have a Skunk Day, or a Rabbit Day. Oh sure, we do have rabbit season, but it just isn't the same.

And what of the pressures already upon our groundhog brethren? I mean, they have to predict the weather for the following six weeks. And this year, more than ever, with the new Republican president in the White House, will Phil, or any other groundhog for that matter, have the courage to come out?

I, for one, encourage the furry little guy, and even those with less fur, and those who aren't even groundhogs, to take that step. I applaud anyone, human or groundhog, or duck (come on Daffy, we all know), with the courage to face their shadows and make a real open life for themselves.

Those who are already out, and living an openly gay lifestyle in the face of family, societal and political adversity, are the real gay heroes. They are the ones making the difference in a time when it is especially important for the gay community not to turn tail and scurry back into their closets in the face of the political shadow cast upon us.

In all truth, it is too late for the homosexual community to turn at the sight of its shadow. We have all come much too far to let anything stop us from advancing forward, so that one day every groundhog, and others like them, will be able to come out of their burrows and proudly proclaim "An early spring is expected!"