I met a homosexual and my life changed forever

I’ve been thinking about this (inspired by a Pit thread from a while back) and thought I’d share with you an experience that changed my life forever. Please forgive me if I ramble a little bit, I’ll try to keep it fairly short and on point.

As I was growing up, I did not have the opportunity to know any openly homesexual people. I’m sure I knew some who were in the closet, but they obviously didn’t feel comfortable letting me know (I don’t really blame them for this considering my attitude back then). All I knew about homosexuals was that they were icky, wierd, disgusting perverts who didn’t like who they were supposed to like. My ignorance continued until I was eighteen and went to college.

At college, I made several new friends and the circle of friends I joined included a guy I’ll call Fred for purposes of this story. Fred was openly (and somewhat flamingly) homesexual. He had come out recently and wasn’t ashamed to be who he was meant to be. I had never met anyone like Fred before and was struck by the fact that he was smart, happy, funny, and a normal person just like me. It also turned out later that he had a huge crush on me, which to my suprise didn’t freak me out like I thought it would. He was just a normal guy, like the rest of us, he played video games, partied, RPG’d, and was a pretty darn good shot at basketball. The only difference was that he found men attractive while I preferred women.

We had a lot of fun and he was one of the most faithful friends I have ever had. I very much regret that I have lost contact with him over the years. Fred completely changed the way I thought of homosexuals, I no longer thought of them as freaks…just people.

So, Dopers, please share with me if you have any stories about how meeting a homosexual person has changed your life. It can be positive or negative, just please open a Pit thread if flaming (of the bad sort ;)) is in order. I know some good stories are out there, don’t be shy.

P.S. I’m a night shift person (for now) so don’t think I’ve abandoned the thread…I’m just sleeping.

This might be a bit weird after that (good for you). I met my best gay friend before he knew he was gay.

I was a solo mum and we were both studying at the same college. He and I were the same age. Almost everyone else was 10 years younger. So we became friends orginally because we were both old(er) farts.

One night he arrived at my place in tears “everyone thinks I’m gay” he said (I always thought he was too). He was 28 at the time, had he been younger I might have said something different, but we were best buddies at the time, so I said “Stuart I always thought you were gay”

Fast forward, that night we did much drinking and swapped secrets back and forward.

Two weeks later he came out.

He taught me how hard it is to publicly acknowledge who you are if what you are is something different. He fought it for a long time. Looking back it is hard to see how he kept it to himself. He became loud, proud and OUT.

He was really scared about how it would be taken by others…I don’t think he ever appreciated that when a guy sits and gives other guys bums scores out of 10 with all the girls that a) they know and b) they couldn’t care less.

It’s been a couple of years since I saw him because he moved. But the last night I saw him he was agonising about how hard it would be to move to the other end of the country just like anyone else would. Ok not just like anyone else because Stuart is a Horrible Pessimist, but you get the point.

I was never homophobic but Stuart taught me that he was just as paranoid as I am :wink: and we both fancy the same blokes.

I think the situation in the OP is fairly common - and not just the homosexual thing. Most people have prejudices and some degree of bigotry that has its roots in ignorance. It’s easy to see differences, and those differences serve as an “easy out” for those too lazy to think.

Back when I was an ignorant kid, I thought black people were black because they descended from Noah’s children, who saw him naked and were of course marked by God for their sin :rolleyes:. That’s what I was told, and I had no evidence to suggest that was wrong.

I know jerks of every color and creed. I know wonderful people of every color and creed. You grow up, you learn, you lose your prejudices.

Unless you’re an idiot.

Well, I do have a “gay revelation” story concerning my kids (who, AFAIK are all straight, although my 17-year-old daughter crushes on other girls sometimes, so we’ll see). Anyway. . .I have two sisters who are gay. One of them, whom I’ll call Bridget (seeing as how that’s her name) is pretty open about it, but at the time this story happened, my middle daughter was only eight, and what do they know? So, hubby, me and eight-year-old riding down the road in a car, on our way to a wedding (I forget whose wedding), and daughter says: “I wonder when Aunt Bridget will get married? Isn’t she older than you, Mom? Isn’t the oldest one supposed to get married first? How come she’s not married already, since you’ve been married a long time?” So I decide to take these questions not in order, but in terms of easiest question first: “Yes, honey, she’s older than me; yes, Pop and I have been married a long time; yes, the older one usually gets married first, but not always. And. . .well, Aunt Bridget will never get married because for a woman to get married, she has to marry a man, and she doesn’t like men that way. She likes women. You know she lives with Mary, right? Well, Aunt Bridget and Mary are partners, just like me and Pop are partners”. Long silence from the backseat as she processes all of this. Finally, “Oh. Then why can’t they get married?” “Well, that’s just not legal. The government doesn’t recognize their right to marry”. “Oh. Well, that’s dumb”. And that’s all that was said on the subject until we picked up our then-12-year-old daughter. When the older one got in the car, the younger one looked at her with the excitement of someone who has big news and says: “Did you hear about Aunt Bridget?? She is so gay!” It was the emphasis on the word “so” that cracked us all up. The news about Aunt Bonnie landed not too long after that.

Needless to say, I don’t think that my kids will ever think much about homosexuality being “icky” (except in terms of them being at an age when they think everything sexual is icky), because in our family, it just is what it is.

Well, I grew up with a rainbow of people so the skin/ethnicity thing never was an issue. The idea that Jews were a minority, for example, I never brought aboard until I went to college in Boston and there was a Jewish Club like the black or Chinese students had! :eek:

Anyway, first openly gay person I knew was my voice teacher. She mentioned that her partner had also gone to Wellesley. Wellesley is single-sex. Aha! She does wear her hair a bit short and wears Birkenstocks a lot, but…

I’d always thought of gay people as sorta prancing, promiscuous ninnies–I went to the Pride Parades (the big flamboyant ones of the 80s) when I was a teen and looked at these folks like they were giant exotic birds. So silly, so carefree–and now they wanted to adopt kids?? Have laws to protect their jobs (what jobs? they seemed to flit through life) and so on and so forth.

After meeting her, though, it seemed quite plausible. And I realize I’d been surrounded by gay people, hiding in plain sight by leading lives almost the same as my own. :smiley: I still raise my eyebrows sometimes at the polemics of the Larry Kramers of the world, but I’m on board with gay rights in general.

Well, I’ve already told this story elsewhere on the boards (at least once), but this is the first thread where it actually applies.

I had pretty much the same experience, except I didn’t meet any openly gay people in college, either. (And I went to college in Greenwich Village!) Or afterwards. Sure, I saw them, but never had an opportunity to meet them in a social setting. And it wasn’t for lack of looking; I was always looking for signs whenever I spoke to someone, just to get an idea that there were people who were like me instead of people who were seemingly living a stereotype.

And after eight years of living in the SF Bay area, I still hadn’t met anyone that I thought I could relate to. Then, right as I was just about to give up on ever being happy with myself, I met a guy who was openly gay and completely comfortable with himself. He didn’t evangelize; we talked about movies and living in the city and other completely unrelated stuff before it ever even came up. He never told me what to do; he just told me what coming out was like for him. He said he never wanted to be gay, but when he decided to tell people, he realized that it just wasn’t that big a deal.

It was the first time that it clicked for me that I’d been the one living a stereotype; I still believed all the preconceived notions I’d had. The only one who was telling me that if you’re gay, you have to live and act a certain way, was me. I could still be myself, and be gay without being ashamed of it. I thought about it a lot over the next week, and finally decided to come out. And the guy was right; it’s just not that big a deal. I didn’t lose any friends, I haven’t had people treating me all that different. The only change is that I don’t feel like I’m always hiding something or lying to people anymore.

I told the guy later on that I’d come out, and he was surprised and moved by it; he hadn’t realized he’d had that much of an impact on me. I guess sometimes, just living your life the right way is enough.

I haven’t been all that religious in years, but I’ve always believed in God and that there’s something higher going on than any one of us can recognize; we just get glimpses of Him on occasion. And although it sounds maudlin, I’ve got more faith now than I did before. When you’re at your lowest point possible, and someone comes out of nowhere and gives you a hand out of that and helps you get your life back on track – without even realizing he’s doing it – there’s got to be a reason for it.

While in high school I couldn’t understand why guys wouldn’t like girls and vica versa. But being an atheist, I didn’t get into the “Its Evil” mindset. I just felt what they do is fine, I just don’t want to hear or see it. That said, my views on sexuality, along with politics, religion and the like have gone through some changes, as I’m sure they do with most people.

While I don’t consider any gay folks my “best” friends, I do know a few from work. We have occassionally gone out for drinks after work or had a holiday get together with mutual co-workers and the like. There had been a few times where I was the only straight guy in the room, and still had a good time. One year I was one of two straights and the other one was obviously less than comfortable. It was kind of humorous to see him, then watch him leave fairly soon.

In fact, just the other night I went to a pub with friends after work in the Montrose area here in Houston. That is where most of the gay clubs in town are located. As I walked back to my car, I noticed many guys walking around, holding hands and acting the way couples act. A few years ago, I would have been uncomfortable, but know I really didn’t give it much thought. I’m at the point now where if someone finds someone they are happy with, then good for them.

For a bit of a hijack, as I passed one of the clubs I noticed a guy with fairly large muscles hanging around in what looked like tighty whities and that was all. I also recalled years ago in Dallas going to a drag queen show, in the gay club where the show was there were several guys similarly dressed walking around or sitting against one of the walls. Just wondering what is there purpose. Do they work there? These places were definitely not strip clubs, so I am kind of curious as to what they are doing.

No story really. Just that one of the funnier and easier to get on with teachers at school was openly gay. It was rather bemusing to get snippets of gay culture in biology classes (of all places :wink: ) Not really in context either. Like the time during teaching about asexual reproduction he mentioned a gay look called “the Clone” where apparantly gay men like dressing as lumberjacks :stuck_out_tongue:

Probably Go-Go Dancers. Was it at Village Station in Dallas? If so, definitely dancers. They work there.

That’s probably it, though I don’t remember seeing them actually dance.

I had just started to come out to myself when I started at CEGEP. When I went to try out for the play, one of the casting managers was a woman named Randy, a very stereotypical big square-bottomed dyke with a big old pride pin. My heart leapt up. The next day I ran into her in the hall; I asked her if I could talk to her, then asked her if that was a pride pin I saw her wearing the other day. She told me everything I needed to know about how to start going to support groups. She was the first real live gay person I ever met. :slight_smile:

When I was six or seven, we went to Corpus Christi to visit my Aunt Olivia and her partner, Joyce. My family is very private and don’t talk about stuff so when I met Joyce, I just assumed she was a man with really big boobs. Time went by and my aunt and Joyce separated and a couple of years later, Joyce came to visit with her new girlfriend. That’s when I realized that Joyce was a) a woman; and b) gay. I guess if my parents had totally wigged out about it, I might’ve grown up thinking being gay was icky. Fortunately, nothing they said or did gave me that impression so I grew up thinking it was perfectly normal.

What about J.R.'s? I was there this week and at least one drag queen finished performing and immediately began undressing down to her tap shorts.

BTW, the emcee at J.R.'s is absolutely gorgeous! She was stunning and I made a point to tell her that too.

:smack: :mad:

Well, the post I just spent a couple of hours on was eaten, so I’ll just say thank you to everyone for your replies…some of them were very moving. I’ll post what I tried to post just now a little later.

[sub]The one damn post I don’t do in Word first and it gets eaten. Just my luck.[/sub]