Hi, all, well this past week Peter fell dreadfully ill and in the course of tending to him, I caught the durn stuff as well, so while I've not been as sick as him, it hasn't been a fun week to say the least. Togetherness is not so wonderful when you can't breathe (literally).
In any case, during the recuperative process and whilst reading the regular e-mail newsletter from ChristianGays.com (go visit Mary there - she's a sweetie), my thoughts ran to the late stage in life in which I came out. I finally came out to myself at the age of 29, younger than some do, but older than most men (on average). Peter was the first man I connected with emotionally and physically. For six years we've kept that connection, although at times we were apart from each other. We've maintained our relationship continuously for the past three and a half years. Peter knew he was gay at a very early age. I had certain expressions of homosexuality starting in my pre-teen years, but never realized what they actually were, such was my sheltered life. (Not that I am blaming my parents for sheltering me; they absolutely gave me the appropriate information when I asked for it and was ready for it. Society today is far too obsessed with adult-izing and sexualizing children -- I know I've posted somewhere on here about the slutification of American girls.)
So, sometimes I wonder what I might have missed out on: that early fumbling kiss with another exploring young man, being able to take advantage of my more lithe (I was never athletic) and young body and looks to attract other guys, discovering other young gay friends in college, etc. Yet, I'm constantly drawn to one conclusion: I came out when it was right for me.
I firmly believe that God graced me (for some unknown reason) with the ability to grow to a point in my life where I could accept and deal with my sexuality. I almost certainly didn't miss out on anything. Growing up in Mississippi, there weren't a lot of outlets for gay people (or at least none that I would have had access to then). And at points in my life I was fiercely evangelical and fundamentalist. I would sent myself to a re-orientation camp (and did briefly consider this after watching a tv program right early in the coming out process). And, I did have gay friends in college, some of whom where out and the time and others who weren't. Of course, they knew about me, but wisely weren't going to force that on me.
No, I was in an emotionally and spiritually mature enough place to accept this part of me. I also had the right support structure: a good town to come out in (Atlanta), a friendly and affirming co-worker, and my sister, who was at that point old enough to be fantastic emotional support and come to her own indepent, thought-out conclusions. Even with all that, it took me another year and a half/two years to come out to my parents. Had I been much younger, I would have certainly suffered in silence for decades (even though I know they would have been loving and supportive as always).
I wish all gay men and women could have the opportunity that I did, to have the gift that I did. Thank you, God, for the gift you gave me. Please extend Your grace to my brothers and sisters who need it.