I Really Can’t Believe It

Full disclosure before we get any further: this is another gay marriage post to add to the billions already out there. I’ll try to tell what it’s been like from a personal standpoint.

I graduated from high school…more than a couple years ago. In high school, particularly in my sophomore year, I was bullied quite a bit for my supposed sexuality. I never corrected the assumptions, so it was seen as a clear fact. Being short, smart, and funny, and not at all into the popularity crap, I was a target for anything. Whatever. The hypocrisy of high school was in full effect — there was one jock who had issue with me and all his friends would jump in. Alone, about three-fourths of them were decent, usually pleasant to me.

I…am a little mouthy. I’m also not tall by any stretch of the imagination. I was often referred to as a pocket-gay…until my victims recovered from their chewed throats and spread the word not to call me such stupid shit anymore. To this day I have NO idea why I haven’t had my ass kicked regularly, especially in high school. They yelled at me; I yelled back. They insulted me; I insulted them back, but I was funnier. I called them out by name, reminding them of their decency when alone and calling out their pack mentality. I got out alive, tougher, a bit bitterer, awfully salty, and ultimately able to handle myself in most verbal tussles.

This tainted my view of the entire gay rights movement. I soon found gay friends and discovered myself more, even as the apologies from high school bullies came in throughout college and the years after. Gratifying, but ultimately pointless.

With those gay friends I was discussing my views on people and the prejudice against gays. We all came from different backgrounds — we had the sheltered religious type, the huge nerds, a jock, a spoiled princess, the pretty boy, a no-holds-barred flaming homo, the goth kids — and we talked about how we knew that gay marriage would eventually be legal, but we didn’t know that it would happen in our lifetimes. I personally said that I didn’t think we would see the day, largely because of my high school experiences (which included a beloved chemistry teacher making fun of a neighboring school because of their new gay/straight alliance club).

Not so long after that, Prop 8 was passed in California. I figured it would be much longer before any substantial progress would be made. I was shocked, because even though I lived in a conservative section of Southern California, I expected more of this supposedly progressive state. With a dramatic Eeyoreesque sigh of long-standing world weariness, I repeated my mantra. “Eventually.”

Prop 8 was eventually repealed, but I knew that it was a long journey, and one I might never see the end of. Then, it all exploded. Everything. Huge leaps and bounds were made in so short of a time span that my bitchy pessimism couldn’t sustain the onslaught of progress. “Eventually” turned into “Maybe” and that even changed to “Possibly.”

“Possibly” isn’t the word anymore, is it? It’s real. It’s here. In my life time. While I’m still young, even. In a time frame I never thought possible.

I’ve been thinking about this recently, and about time travel. If I could go back in time and tell that little pocket-gay, not even 5’5”, literally surrounded by a circle of taunting, yelling, impossibly tall jocks…if I told him that in a few short years several of them would be apologizing, that I would use that moment as a scene in my first novel, and that in a few years I would have the legal right to marry the man of my dreams, I wouldn’t have believed it. I couldn’t have believed it. I had cast aside hope as part of my defense. But now…it’s all different. All those things have and can happen.

I only need to find that man to marry now. But when I do…I can. And I never thought it would happen. That’s an amazing feeling.

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~ by Darren Endymion on July 2, 2015.

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