Being A Homosexual Is Exhausting
Being a homosexual is exhausting. Seriously. I'm just off three days of Wisconsin PrideFest; both as a proud sponsor and representing my nonprofit, Public Allies.
So, three very full days.
The gay "culture," so to speak, is very active. First, you need to plan three days of outfits and alternatives around the weather. Three days of coordinating when and where to meet your friends. Days before that, emails and Facebook updates (and a few on Grindr). And, once you're there, let the games begin! First, there's food and drink everywhere. Start early and keep up is the norm (God help you). The dancing. The after-fest "festivities." And, you HAVE to look good, all through it. Then, in our environment, there's the flirting. It's not only the ONLY three days a year that it's safe to look another guy (or girl if you will) in the eye and tell them they're sexy without the fear of getting a black eye (or worse), but it's done almost out of a sign of respect for your fellow gays. Just a wink will do.
I don't know if I can make someone who's not a homosexual understand the feeling. What a tangible, real feeling of safety is adopted, and made possible (by a lot of hard work-thanks WI-PF) for a few hours or days. A ticket, $15. A beer $6. The freedom to smile at an attractive man and not to not edit what you say... to be able to hold hands with someone of the same sex... priceless!
Some of our most steadfast activists would say by NOT doing the above everyday we are further repressing ourselves. And they're right. But, it IS exhausting being a homosexual. Being of the "ten percent" of the population who are expected to act against our nature and live as a legally "non-equal" citizen minority alongside our heterosexual friends, families and allies, the responsibility placed upon us is, well, exhausting. After these three days, we will put that heavy coat back on, all while still smiling and still looking fabulous.
In my line of work, nonprofit, we speak often of integrity. But, then we see politicians, so often Republicans, preaching against gays while taking secret lovers who never seem to stay a secret for long. Where is their integrity? It seems all too often those politicians, those "leaders," are just telling the masses what they want to hear. Talking the talk, but not walking the walk. Who can believe what you hear from any of them or are you just being told what you want to hear... yet again. Think about it.
I often feel naïve, but I know it's truly optimism. I believe in the inherent goodness of people. I believe they will do the right thing and be authentic in the absence of judgment. When a mother holds her infant. When a friend has your back. When the person you love smiles at you and puts their arms around you-you know inside when right is right. I believe today's leaders recognize hypocrisy, they understand their shortcomings and those of their "fallen" cohorts. I believe they know we all deserve better. I believe that they believe in liberty and justice for all... then we can get on with rebuilding a more perfect union. But, now they need to act on what they know what is right.
Saturday night, I decided to forego Patti LaBelle, the parties, the late night, and I rushed home to watch the PrideFest fireworks from my 26th floor studio apartment in downtown Milwaukee. I lay down on my bed, watched all the beautiful colors and felt the explosive booming on my chest. The grand finale was in deed grand; the last shell exploded into a mammoth silver shimmering waterfall, not unlike the big teased-out wig of a funny, sassy drag queen. I was proud of myself and of Milwaukee.