Don't just live in the world

Suddenly aware

August 13th, 2013 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Parenting | Personal

I’m currently reading Dan Savage’s book American Savage. I was expecting more of an autobiography than what I’m getting, but I like Dan Savage and it’s an interesting read. So far he’s talked about Catholicism and his personal experiences with religion, he’s talked about monogamy, and I just finished a chapter where he declared Halloween something of a straight pride parade.

There was also a chapter on sexual education, which was a really interesting read. Sex ed is something I’ve thought a lot about and both Dan Savage and an episode of This American Life I was recently re-listening to have reminded me of something I was aware of as a teen – you’re parents can tell you the basics, but get further into it and everyone gets uncomfortable, so providing outside resources is key.

I was actually at a luncheon a couple of weeks ago and was introduced to Sue McGarvie. This was the woman who hosted a call-in show about sex on Sunday nights here in Ottawa. I listened to her on my walkman with the sound down. I also read Cosmo magazine and any other books I could get my hands on. Before I ever had sex I knew a lot about it, and I think I benefitted from that. I also think it helped me wait until I was past ready and found the right person.

But that’s not really what this post is about. This post, like Dan Savage’s book, is about being gay.

Baby's first pride parade

Baby’s first pride parade

I am not gay. I did wonder when I was younger if maybe I was or maybe I was something else or what was wrong with me – which I think is a normal teenage thing. I am not gay and I have no idea what it’s like to be gay. That’s why it struck me when Dan Savage talked about the feeling of walking into a gay bar for the first time.

The same thing struck me when two friends of ours got married and headed off to their honeymoon at a gay resort.

At first I wondered about the choice, I wondered what that was like as a honeymoon and then I realized: Gay people can feel safe an open in such a place in a way they can never ever feel in everyday life.

I was struck. It had never occurred to me before that gay people will always have to think about who they are and how someone will react to them just existing as they are. I’d guess you have to assume the worst and hope for the best.

Of course, while I’m reading this book I’m also watching the world talk about the Olympics in Russia. I don’t know what the right thing is, to boycott or not, but a message needs to be sent.

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