what it's like being gay

people stare.

People always stare, but it’s a different kind of stare,

the same sort of stare an older man and younger woman get

when they walk holding hands,

and it’s impossible tell if she’s the daughter or the mistress.

So people stare,

and it’s mostly just curiosity.

“Here they are, in their natural habitat,

wonder which one’s the lady and which is the gent”,

but we aren’t lab rats,

not an oddity, a rarity, something deserving of study,

we are just people.


So the curious stares get annoying.


Then there’s the hate stares,

the ones that make baby hairs erect,

the ones that make you want to forget

you promised to hold your partner’s hand to the end,

but for two minutes, you want to let go,

until they pass.

And there’s no defense, 

no shield for the gays against the gaze,

either you pretend the person burning holes through your skull

isn’t there,

or you stare right back

with conviction and rage so strong

now you know why people say

“gays always look so angry.”


And, if they look long enough,

maybe they will sum up the guts to ask you a question


“But haven’t you ever been with a man?”

“Haven’t you ever longed for a lady?”


“What are you going to do when you have kids?”

or maybe they’ll say something to show you they are on your side,


“my son wears pink every day, and I’m pretty sure he’s gay!”

the questions aren’t so bad,

but sometimes it’s hard to have the patience to keep answering them,

when it seems so obvious to you.

No one goes around asking straight couples

if, when they decide to start a family,

if they’ll just get a friend to do it, the natural way,

or spend thousands of dollars on the perfect sperm and egg,

or adopt a child from Zimbabwe.


And then there’s the people who won’t hug you

or touch you,

won’t even come close enough to brush you,

as if you could infect them like the plague,

as if, after one bump, you’re in love,

and will stalk them for the rest of their days,

(that last part may be up for debate).

But, at that, you just have to chuckle,

think of yourself as a Jedi

able to wield the most fabulous force

that even red-necked, white-collared, bible-thumpers

are terrified you’ll lead them astray.


Because, beneath all the stares and the questions and the exaggerated personal space,

there are smiles,

and laughs,

and pure happiness,

all of which is derived from seeing two people in love,

regardless of who or what they are,

and that, is more than enough.


When you see two pigeons being all snuggly and cute,

or a couple of kittens making perfect spoons,

you never say “Wait, I must confirm they both have different genders before this is okay”,

we’re not that different than cats and birds, you know,

so why does it matter what is beneath our clothes?


The End

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