Beyond Stonewall

All of us are part of history.

We each have our own story.

Our stories affect others, thus we affect a greater society.

Sometimes the smallest action creates massive change.

What’s your story?

I came out in high school. As a young freshman in 1979 after having been beaten by a group of bullies, this “queer faggot” was suspended from school. The rules were that no matter who or what caused a fight, if you were involved you were suspended. After a trip to the hospital and many facial stitches I faced a choice. Move to a private school or return and face my oppressors.

I chose to return and face my oppressors. After walking back into school with the swelling and bruises still apparent, I walked past them. This time when I was called faggot instead of denying it, ignoring it or hiding from it I took it as my own and replied “So what if I am?”

The bullying changed. I won’t say it stopped completely, but I will say it stopped having power over me.

I found that some started to accept me and over time the bullying practically disappeared. Yeah there was a comment now and then from an insecure asshole, but it was no longer aggressively oppressing. I had the power now because I took my power back by accepting and saying “I am gay, I am a faggot, queer or whatever.” High school turned out pretty good after all. Not perfect, but pretty damn good.

The change I see is this:

I changed my world by accepting who and what I was. I changed other’s worlds by allowing them to see, know and be friends with an out gay man. I also allowed others who were gay to follow me into their own truth.

Shapeshifting

Being the 50th anniversary of Stonewall I search daily for a new video that resonates. Some days the videos just pop into my YouTube suggestions, some days I run into them on another blog and still other days I take the time to search. Today I searched and I learned, I found growth…growth in my understanding.

I’ll never be able to fully understand the plight of those born into the wrong body, but I can try to empathize through understanding from pieces of my own personal experiences. Even though I was born into an exterior male body that matches my inner gay male persona, I can understand this new term I learned today, Shapeshifting. While I didn’t have to act as a different sex, I did have to lie and act as if I was attracted to the opposite sex in order to hide who I really was. I can still catch myself shapeshifting as it was something engrained deeply in me early in my life.

I cannot claim to understand the complete experience of transgender. I can love, accept, embrace and support to the best of my own empathy and understanding.

Vulnerability = Courage