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Friends and That Closet

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I'm mildly frustrated. I don't really have a solution, an answer, to the problem, so I'm venting here.

Today, I went to see a friend I've known many years. It's a business relationship but a casual friendship too. I've known these friends since I was a junior in high school. Lately, they've gone grey and silver. They're about a generation older than I am.

I'm not out to these friends. They are evangelicals. The guy listens to Limbaugh and has some strong opinions. One of those is that homosexuality is wrong, sinful.

Now, I know this about this friend and I overlook it. They are decent people and I don't really want to get into an argument neither one of us will win or like having. I think I can overlook it. Why give up an otherwise good business relationship and casual friendship over the one issue? Is that too sensitive, too picky?

But...dang it. That word came up today towards the tail end of our visit while the business side went on. I was polite and we kept right on talking. But...well, heck, I am gay. It is only part of who I am, but it is important in who I am. I wish my friends (and certain famly) could see this and understand it, but that is not likely to happen.

We deal with other mild disagreements and sometimes major disagreements in life. If this were prejudice against handicapped people, I could see going somewhere else. If this were racial prejudice, I'd probably go elsewhere. Yet in this, I haven't stopped. i try to say it's a difference of opinion, of belief, and of faith.

I wasn't very aggravated and I'm still not hugely put out. But when i got home and thought about it, I just wish people would get better about it.

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Firstly, Ben, I know roughly where you live and I don't think of it as a place to parade one's sexuality without due care.

Secondly, having said that, I believe that homophobes can change their long held opinions when they realise that someone they like is gay.

Thirdly, and most importantly, from what you say, I don't think you will win these people over. Continue as you have or find new more accepting people to do business with.

I work with a couple of people who are evangelicals, and I declared my relationship with my partner before I knew they were religious. They have their beliefs and I am who I am. By law here they cannot discriminate or attempt to proselytise in the work place. We are quite civil to one another. I refer to my partner and they seem to cope okay. But that's here and I wouldn't attempt it where you are. Please be careful. Activism is all very well, but being 'out' mustn't place you in danger.

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Guest Dabeagle

IN addition Ben, in my own opinion, it' hurtful to your sense of self to allow so much negativity with your permission - to say you try to overlook it because they are good people. I'm sorry but if they can't respect you, what good are they as friends of any kind? Business is one thing, but I would stick to business and look for a way to replace them with better clients if it's within your ability to do so. It's not worth your self respect to constantly make allowances for other peoples beliefs, but discount who you are and not allow you to be who you are.

And yes, for goodness sakes, move. You can always go back and visit or use Skype.

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I would be happy to see you. James is just showing off his pistol.

To the original post, either move to a better spot but if you're like me, it isn't a option. Find a better group of friends that would appeal to you and them, or let your other friends know the real Blue which you've shown them from the beginning and one little thing shouldn't seperate long time friends. Show them facts, not the drivel they have been learned.

Some things are worth fighting for.

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I should probably explain what I didn't say before. That wasn't a client, I'm the client. Or rather, my cats are the clients. It's my vet and his wife, whom I've known since I was a junior in high school when we moved into the area and needed a new vet. He is mostly a nice guy; he means well, but he has strong religious and political opinions, yes. (Well, come to think of it, so do I....) He's a good vet. I'm really reluctant to switch vets; there isn't one near where I live now that I know well, or that I've had good results from. I've only tried two others since.

But...yes, you're right that I don't have to put up with something and squash my own needs and feelings and expressing my own opinion.

When I was thinking more about this, and about people's advice, I had to think that this is a little like how it is for someone in a racial minority to put up with bull because they need a service or because the person is otherwise OK or there is some obligation with other relationships. I agree that being black or another minority is not the same as being gay, aside from, both are kinds of minorities. The comparison holds, though.

Moving? Moving?! Hahaha, if you only knew. A few friends online know I still have boxes and stuff from when I moved in my home after my parents passed away. On top of that, now I am adding things from my grandmother's home, until that's done. I am telling myself I will get through it this time and not drag it out like before. (Yes, in part, it's emotional, not letting go. In part, it's also a measure of just how much my life has been turned upside down the past few years, that I never could seem to get the time to get things finished.) I'm making slightly faster progress now, but not by much. It needs to increase by a huge factor. When I have everything done and actually have a clean, organized house without freaking boxes and junk all over, I will be so amazed I won't know what to do with myself. Yeah, severely idiosyncratic reaction there, but hey, that's what I've had to live with as a primary caregiver, the past several years. Particularly the last two and a half years, I would barely have time to do anything...which is a major reason my involvement here and at CW tapered off drastically.

If, and I do mean IF, my situation changes enough that I can actually go back and complete my bachelor's degree, which at this point, I doubt, then yes, I'll be moving to another city anyway. -- I am hoping to be able to keep my house now, until/unless that happens, or unless I have to downsize further.

...None of which really has anything to do with how I respond or don't respond to people who don't know somehow that I'm gay. -- Uh, people, pay attention, there are indications I might not be straight. Heh, the people I've told? No one was stunned I'm gay. I think I was the only one who wasn't saying or accepting it, of those I've told.

...And as others have said to me, I don't have to tell everyone, if I don't think it would be safe or accepted by someone. Unfortunately, there are many people who don't accept it and people still ignore that in jobs and personal life alike, sometimes. -- My support system isn't what I'd like, because being a caregiver so long and handicapped myself has drastically reduced my circle of reliable friends, especially locally. -- That said, I am very grateful that the people I've told, and a few people I can turn to, are friends enough to help some, and they are fine with me being gay. -- I just wish that was more people I could count on.

In one sense, hey, I would like to say that saying I should move, while intended as good advice, isn't immediately practical, you know? Think about it. Would you be able to pull up stakes at a moment's notice and move out of your city, state, province, or territory? Would you really want to, either? OK, there are probably some who have done just that. Others, it's not an easy question, is it? Yet...well, if I could settle things and simplify my life, I'm at a point where a drastic change isn't so impossible to do. Uh, however, there also needs to be a place and people to go to and funds to support that move. Meh. I don't currently know anyone I think I could just say, hey, I'm moving, I'll see you as soon as I get there. ...Is that rationalizing again? See, not an easy question to answer.

I raised the question because it really is bothersome. I don't feel like arguing with everyone I already know or everyone I meet, and of course, I don't want being gay to be the first or only thing I say. On the other hand, I don't like someone I know making a comment negative about being gay and assuming I agree with them, because they assume that is right, good, righteous in a religious sense, etc.

And heck, I don't have a relationship (boyfriend, partner, etc.), or a roommate, which is why this gets to me more, I think. My situation's going to improve, but for now, I have so much on my plate, it will be a big deal when I make the time to go out and see the Bully Project movie.

I suppose that's the root of it. I feel very constrained, very limited, and I don't have the support in people or the time that I want/need. So anything like this is aggravating. Yes, I'd be aggravated a little, even if my situation were ideal. Maybe then I'd feel more like being more vocal and not caring if someone didn't like it. (I catch myself being very negative lately about people, precisely because several of the people I used to think I could rely on, have over the last several years and particularly the last few months, made themselves scarce.) I guess that's the bigger issue. I feel let down by a whole lot of people I liked and loved. On the one hand, I have wondered if it was me; if I've been too sensitive, etc. On the other hand, well...I have wondered if I need to be *more* vocal and stick up for myself more, not less. And on the third hand (huh?) I have wondered what it is about people that they act this way (disappear) or about me, that I thought they were friends to begin with, or if I'm pushing them away somehow. -- Yeah, very, very not good mental and emotional place to be in, I know.

On the plus side, I have a much better idea who I can rely on. I have myself and my two cats and a handful of people I'm pretty sure I can rely on when it gets truly dicey. I have a few online friends who are good to talk to (mostly via forums) in that it does help some, a friendly word and contact. There are several I don't talk to enough, email or IM, who have stuck by me as friends. And there are a few who I wish things could be better with; maybe that will improve again somehow, who knows?

About the actual topic, which I've really strayed from? -- I just wish people were more accepting. I'm stubborn enough and have ego enough, despite squashing it, it's still pretty active, that I get along, despite being bmmed out so much lately. Most of the time I'm OK. But there are times, it really gets me down. I've been through enough that I can shrug off and bounce back some. Other folks, though, still deal with this same sort of trouble (lack of acceptance of being gay, or of other differences) and they have trouble too.

There must be some better answer out there, for me, for us, for people who are friendly and accepting, and some answer that ought to reach people who are otherwise good, who have trouble with accepting gay/bi people.

One of those eternal questions, I guess, but damn it, it is frustrating when you want better and expect better from people you like otherwise.

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