This was another in a series of collaboration questions designed to make us think about ourselves in a positive manner, and to put forth our best perspective on ourselves.

To Thine Own Self Be True
A Gay Opinion 8/29/00
by R.A. Melos

It started with a simple word: Gay.

The word itself has no connotations other than those placed upon it by society, and the connotations each individual who makes up the whole of society placed upon it.

Gays, according to some over all generalizations made by some people of rather archaic societal thinking, were the "Nancy boys", "pansies", the drag queens, the fairies, the fruits; they were the men who were "that way", the people parents warned their children to stay away from. Homosexuals were the deviants, the perverts, those shunned by the "decent" and the "God Fearing" people of society.

As a gay man of today, I, and all homosexuals, have been given, by the universe, the wonderful gift of self-creation. There are those who embrace the very terms meant as ridicule, and others who proudly wear the pink triangle once used as a mark of persecution, who refuse to allow society the right to take away their dignity and self-respect.

The only way any gay man truly loses his dignity and self-respect in today's world is by remaining closeted and not being true to himself.

Ours is not a world of striving to fit in with the mundane cookie cutter lifestyles of those who are jealous of our emotional freedom, but rather a world of bright truth which allows us to cut our own path and make our own way. We, once we have escaped the closets of oppression in which society stores us, do not have to settle for the names of ridicule or the stereotypes non-gay society has placed upon us.

The universe has given us a weighty task; that of opening up the closed minded people in society, of showing everyone, straight and gay alike, we are not just the drag queens, the pansies, the fairies, the queers, of the old views, but rather the husbands and ex-husbands, and fathers, and lawyers, and Realtors, and professors, and construction workers, and truck drivers, and mortgage bankers, and neighbors, and friends, and cousins, and sons of a harsh world whose acceptance we do not need in order to live.

As has been said for decades, "we're queer and we're here!" And now, instead of trying to fit into a preexisting place in society, it is time we showed society exactly where we want to be and create our own place.

Waking up to these feelings within myself has been one of the most fulfilling, and wonderful experiences of my life. To realize the emotional freedom I have, the chance to truly be whatever I want to be without the need for societies approval, is a feeling beyond ecstasy; beyond euphoria. This is the true freedom to express myself, as myself, and not as a preconceived image or mask donned from the closets of repressive society in order to blend.

Right now homosexuals are blending into society, which, as a Pagan, I believe is one of the spiritual goals of humankind; to integrate all aspects into one. However, the unique perspective of the homosexual should not be lost in the blending. We should hold on to our individuality, our unique design which separates us from the rest of society. Acceptance of our lifestyle is inevitable, but change of that lifestyle to ease the collective consciousness of society must not happen.

Everyday, in some way, I urge the closeted homosexuals to grow beyond the boundaries placed upon themselves by their own self-denials and by society. I urge them to come out and be honest with themselves; to overcome their fears of persecution and step into the freedom of being rather than conforming. I urge those who are "out" to challenge the mores of oppressive society, to push their boundaries and place their true marks on the universe.

The world will not prosper until all people are free of their self-imposed prisons and have the self-confidence to stand up and be counted, to take responsibility for more than just their own personal financial needs; to take responsibility for the positive changes each and every individual can make.

When you look into the mirror and identify yourself to yourself, who do you see? Are you honest with yourself? Are you happy with the actions you've taken to get to where you are today? Do you have regrets?

I have always admired French chanteuse Edith Piaf, who is quoted as having said of her life "I regret nothing". One of my own personal goals in life is to regret nothing I've done to get to where I am currently; to feel happy with myself and who I am as a person.

After a long period of pain, doubt, and loss of direction, I am once again where I want to be, and extremely happy with the person I have become. I do not regret anything I have done to reach this place, even when I look at the emotional cost it took to get here, the losses I have suffered and pains I have caused, have all been worth it for me to feel this good about who I am.

I am a gay man. The feelings of self-confidence and pride I can take in stating that simple phrase outweigh all the emotionally tough times through which I suffered for my own personal truths. To look at my life and have an emotional sense of inner peace is more important to me than any materialistic desires.

I have always placed more value on the intangibles in life. The feelings, the words, all the little things which many people ignore or take for granted are more valuable to me than gold.

A look, a touch, a word of affection is worth more than a diamond ring or fancy car. An honest person, or one who lives by his own code of ethics much higher than that of societies, is more important than a rich man.

I am a gay man, and I am proud of the person I have become. I speak for myself, and stand up for myself and my beliefs, with the personal integrity which comes from the knowledge I have been the best person I could be, whether that person fell short in the eyes of society or not, and I am happy with the achievement of making the effort no matter the outcome.

I wish all homosexuals, closeted and out, could say the same thing, and feel the inner peace of revealed self-truths. I know my efforts in life matter because I feel good about myself, and that is the intuitive feeling I use to guide me in life.

Like everyone on Earth, I am striving to grow as a person to broaden my horizons, and I do this each day by being true to myself and my beliefs. We each make our own positive contributions to society, and as homosexuals we owe it to ourselves and society to live our lives openly, honestly and out, and set a better example for the future generations so they may look back upon us with pride in our accomplishments to be the best people we could be, to be true to ourselves, and to make our marks through our ability to be honest and true to ourselves and to society.

I am proud of who I am. Can each individual say the same? I have overcome regret, to recognize it for the obstacle it is, and to turn those regrets into positive experiences by examining what each experience taught me, and putting those lessons to work for a positive future.

I've learned patience, and do see the virtue in it, and have discovered faith in my convictions which remove all self-doubt. I had help on this path, and guidance from many who did not know they were helping me.

While I'm sad for those who haven't reached this level in their own personal growth, I know they eventually will. The universe leaves nothing to chance, and always corrects its mistakes. Now that is a level we should all strive to reach.


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