My Secret Identity #3

.From a personal journal entry


There is a native wisdom in most gay people, even in the beginning, to keep their true selves hidden. I don’t know if it is a genetically spawned protective device, or if the teaching of the world around them, however subtle or crude their experience in the world, that makes the hiding imperative. Perhaps it is a mixture of both. Now and then, there comes some along some brave, or immune, child that does not either suspect, or care about the danger, but they are rare (though becoming somewhat rarer in this age.) It remains that most gay children have a sense of danger in revelation. The journey is a journey alone. The journey is also a journey of alienation, alienation from parents, alienation from peers, and alienation from the larger world around them.

Some of that may have changed today. There are resources available that were not available to those of us who grew up in the pre-Stonewall age. For us, there was nowhere to turn that we were not judged as defective. The churches called us evil and doomed to hell. The mental health profession told us we were degenerate and crazy. Our parents spoke openly, and sneeringly, of faggots and fruits. My own parents sometimes made excursions to what were considered “fruit stands” to laugh. They took me, and my sisters with them. It was considered a Sunday family activity. Letting your parents know you were the one at whom they were laughing was out of the question. My parents didn’t like me in the first place. Whatever small security I had in the family would be, irrevocably, destroyed.

You also couldn’t speak to your friends about what you were feeling. That would have been risking being labeled, at least. a pariah,, or being beaten to a pulp at the most.

Being raised Catholic there was the extra burden of Confession. I cannot count the “bad” confessions I made. It was better to risk the maybe fires of hell than to tell a priest that you masturbated to deliberate imaginings of being surrounded and loved by naked men, or your latest adolescent crush.

Of course, there was the “Seal of the Confessional”; nothing ever said on your knees in that dark booth could be revealed- not even to the Pope, so they said. I never really believed that. I knew what I said would, eventually, first in whispers, later in shouts, become public knowledge. Paranoia comes easy, when hiding a secret.

Even if the priest would keep my confidence, what about the person just outside the curtain who, maybe, could hear what I was saying?

No! It was safer to lie. It was safer to present the image everyone expected than to be who this other person. It was easier to wear an identity as close to “normalcy” as you could muster. Anything else was to invite more ridicule, more abuse then you knew you had strength to bear


About elrondsilvermaul

I never know what to say about myself. I let what I write try to speak as to who I am. I can only add, here, that I am 72, live in a nursing home, am twenty years a cancer survivor, and identify as a gay male. I intend to use this blog as storage for poems? written over the long years (and still being written). This does not preclude other uses.
This entry was posted in BEING GAY, One Little Kumquat, How It Grew, Personal and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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