My Daughter is Gay and I’m Not Going to Stop Talking About it.

I have had more than one person say to me, about the fact that I talk about my daughter being LGBT publicly, that they don’t see why people need to “come out” or why it needs to be discussed publicly as sexuality is a private thing. They say that they never feel the need to tell anyone “Hey, I’m heterosexual.” Well, of course they don’t, because that is assumed. Unless told otherwise, you assume everyone you meet is straight, don’t you? It’s the default.

Another friend told me that they never discuss the fact that one of her nieces is gay any more than they discuss the fact that the other is straight. And I get what she’s saying.

In a perfect world, your child should be able to show up with a date of either gender and no one would bat an eye. Ok, so Susie brought a boy to dinner and Sally brought a girl. Pass the gravy please.

That would happen in a perfect world of acceptance. In perfect world, no one has to come out and mention their sexuality and no one has to discuss it. Sadly, this isn’t a perfect world.

The reality is that if I, as a perceived cisgendered straight woman, never mentioned my orientation to others then they meet my partner, a cisgendered straight man, there is no problem. It fits into everyone’s world view, no one bats an eye and we all go merrily on our way.

However, if I, as a perceived cisgendered straight women, never mentioned my orientation to others then they meet my partner, another woman, all kinds of drama and chaos might ensue. I could lose my job, lose friends, lose family, be kicked out of my church, be kicked out of my home, be beaten, raped (“corrective rape” that is a thing some people actually believe in) or even murdered. So it seems reasonable to feel people out a little.

It seems reasonable to say on Face book, in email, over the phone or even in person with a friend or family member brought for backup (just in case) “Hey, I’m gay.” And see how folks react before showing up at the family reunion with a significant other than might provoke, yelling, crying, ejection from said reunion, ejection from said family, even violence.

Now this is where you tell me that those are extreme reactions and you’re right. Sadly, coming out often elicits extreme reactions.

While it makes me very happy to hear that there are families where it’s a non issue, that’s not always the case. That’s not even usually the case. At best, many family members struggle in the beginning for acceptance even when they are trying. At worst you have to worry about the extreme reactions that happen to LGBT people every day. You can google the statistics on homelessness, suicide, assault and murder if you want. They are staggering.

So if you don’t feel the need to discuss it because you are open and accepting and love everyone, that is great and I am happy that you and others like you exist. However, I need you to understand why I HAVE to talk about it.

I don’t have the luxury to ignore the very real discrimination and hatred that still exists in this world just because there are folks who don’t feel that way. I do believe that the number of folks who are accepting and loving is growing, that the number of families that accept all their members just as they are, is growing. That makes me happy and it gives me hope. I know when you say you don’t know why anyone needs to discuss it, or to come out, I know what you mean is that it shouldn’t matter if someone is gay or straight. And you’re right, it shouldn’t. But it does.

Until LGTB people can’t be legally discriminated against, I have to talk about it. Until LGTB people have the same rights as others, I have to talk about it. Until my daughter can walk down the street holding her girlfriends hand as freely as my son can, without fear of being called names or even assaulted in public for it, I have to talk about it. Until LGBT people are no longer assaulted and murdered at higher rates than the general public, until they are no longer targets of hate crime, I have to talk about it. I can’t NOT talk about it.

 

Warehouse

The warehouse was dusty, dimly lit, abandoned. She had made it her temporary home. At least, she hoped it was temporary! It was echo-y too, she tried not to be too loud or to stir up too much dust. In the far back corner, she had made a room by arranging some large, stacked boxes. Behind these boxes was the pallet she slept on, her few meager belongings and her sketch book.

That sketch book was the reason she was living in abandoned warehouses. She drew everything she saw. Everything. Drawing has been her passion since she was old enough to hold a crayon.

How was it her fault that she had sketched the face of murderer? She hadn’t known he was a murder at the time. She had seen him leaving her neighbors house, he hadn’t seen her at first. He froze when he saw her, caught her eye. They just stared at each other for a long moment then he started across the street toward her, glanced to his left when he heard sirens, then gave her one last look before turning and fleeing down the street.

Of course she had told the police everything when they had questioned her. She gave them the sketch but the officers who questioned her had never returned to the police station that day. When she got the call from the police searching for the missing officers, she knew she was in trouble so she threw a few items into a duffle bag and took off. She had watched enough crime shows to know not to use her debit or credit cards and she wasn’t sure who she could trust now.

She lay on the pallet now, gazing up at the cobweb coated ceiling. There were windows lining the top of the room, all the way around. It let in just enough moonlight through the dust coated panes that she wasn’t in pitch blackness.

She was almost asleep when a noise startled her. She sat up quickly, then held her breath, listening. There was a rustling sound, like someone moving through the darkness toward her. She calmly pulled out her gun and readied herself. She was not going to be taken out, not tonight, not any night!

A flashlight shone in her face, she brought the gun up and aimed, “Who’s there?” she demanded.

The next thing she knew she had been disarmed and the face of the killer was staring down at her. “Thought you could hide from me?” He smirked at her.

This is it, she thought, as she scooted back away from him. A surge of anxiety and white hot anger boiled up inside her. As she thought about how much she wanted to hurt him for what he had done to her neighbor and what he was about to do to her, he reached out toward her and she flung her arms forward in a defensive position.

Inexplicably, she held a glowing orb in her hands. It was so bright it hurt her eyes, it was white and it felt burning hot. She flung it away from her and it shot with deadly precision straight at her attacker. Then suddenly, he was lying on the floor, a gaping, smoking hold in the middle of his chest. The orb was gone and she was safe.

She stared in disbelief at her hands. Well that had been interesting. Suddenly she remembered her great aunt, the one who claimed to be a witch, the one the whole family thought was crazy. She quickly gathered her things and headed out of the warehouse. It was time to pay her aunt a visit and find out what was going on.

 

VROOM!

Throwing the car into gear and putting her foot into the pedal, Sophia sailed out of the parking lot and launched the Shelby Mustang down the road.

“Whoo Hoo!” She shouted as she opened up the throttle, threw her head back and felt the air rush through her hair. Top down, blue with white racing stripes, she loved this car! She felt free and exhilarated! What could be better than this?

Flying up the road, the wheels came off the ground as she went up and over a hill. She flew through an intersection then slowed down to take a turn, but not quite enough, the car started to spin, she was able to regain control as it fishtailed around the corner.

She was sad when she reached her destination. She pulled back into the parking lot, gravel spraying from behind the wheels as she slid to stop in front of the building. Turing to her passenger, she asked, “So, do I get my license now?”

Flight

I had always known I was special. People always treated me differently, even my parents. I never knew why until one day when I was nine years old. I stood in the middle of my bedroom, facing the bank of windows that dominated the east wall of my upstairs bedroom. There, along the top of the row of windows hung dozens of stuffed animals, out of my reach.

Stretching my arms up and out, I focused on the one I wanted and out loud I said, “Come here!”

In amazement I watched as the stuffed bear detached itself from the wall and floated lazily down and into my waiting arms. I turned to find my mother watching from the doorway. She didn’t seem surprised.

Later that day, I overheard her on the phone telling someone that “The experiment is working.” I had no idea what she meant. It wasn’t until much later that I figured out she had been talking about me.

I began to move small objects first, retrieving a book or a pencil without getting up from where I was sitting. Eventually I moved onto larger objects, like moving the couch without touching it so my mom could vacuum under it. I kept my friends entertained for hours moving objects they requested.

Eventually we figured out that I could move my friends themselves. It was fun until I accidently dropped Jimmy Watkins into a pile of lumber and he broke his arm. It was an accident, but after that most of the kids weren’t allowed to play with me anymore.

Without my friends around, I practiced on myself and found that I could levitate! I went out in the front yard and practiced and practiced until I had it down so well it was indistinguishable from flying. I could fly! This was fabulous and I whiled away entire days flying around my neighborhood.

It was fun until one day I flew too high. I don’t know what happened but it was terrifying. At first, it was fun, I was soaring! Then, as I got really high, it was like I could feel the earth letting of me, gravity gradually subsiding. That wasn’t the scary part; the scary part was when I felt something very much like gravity pulling me the opposite direction, up! The higher I got, the stronger the pull and I felt myself zipping up, up, into space, the air was getting thinner and the earth was rushing away from me. I was in a state of pure panic, struggling to get back. I fought and thrashed my arms around like I was swimming, trying to thrust against the force pulling me upwards.

Finally, gradually, I was able to push myself down a little, then a little more. Eventually I passed some kind of threshold where the force of gravity pulling me toward earth became stronger than the force pulling me up. The problem with this that I began to fall, truly fall. I was plummeting toward the ground, heart pounding, sure I was about to be squashed. Again, I thrashed my arms around like I was swimming, this time pushing against the ground that was rushing up to meet me. I managed to slow myself enough that I didn’t splatter when I hit but it knocked the breath out me.

I lay on the ground unable to breathe or move or scream for what felt like an eternity. Petey Grayson from across the street rushed over and was staring down at me with wide eyes yelling my name. I couldn’t answer at first. Finally, the air rushed back into my lungs in a huge, gulping, gasping shudder. I sat up, panting and sucking in air. Something had tried to take me and I had no idea what it was or when it might strike again. This though kept me grounded for months but eventually the urge to soar through the air was too great to deny.

My mother was hysterical when she heard the story, I overheard her sobbing to my father that, “They are trying to take him from us!”

I didn’t know who she meant until one night about a year later when I woke up to a soft pulsating glow coming through my bedroom windows. I ran to the window that overlooked the front of the house and there right outside my window, hovering just over the roof of the front porch, was a small, silver vessel. It was humming softly and there was an alternating blue and green light bathing the roof of the porch just beneath the ship. I quickly slipped out of my room and ran downstairs to my parent’s room.

I expected my parents to deny the presence of the ship, as they had always denied the existence of the monsters that I clearly knew lived in my closet, but instead they went up the stairs and I heard all kinds of banging’s and angry voices.

The next day we packed up and moved several states away. I learned to hide my powers and I managed to fit into my new school, blend in as a normal sixth grader. Years went by with no one the wiser. I graduated from high school and went to college.

But I always knew they’d find me again someday. As I sit here typing this, I can hear their footsteps, see their ship hovering outside my window again. This time, I’m going with them. I have questions, I want answers. I hope they have good intentions and I can learn from them. But just in case, I have a backup plan. I have developed other powers over the years. I can create and hold onto then project balls of energy. I have been practicing, at first it was just a small amount of energy, but now I can hold quite a bit. I’m sure I could hold and expel enough energy, at this point, to approximate a small nuclear explosion if I need to.

I realize this will be the end of me as well, but I won’t be held prisoner, I won’t be experimented on and I won’t be used as weapon to hurt others. I have to know what was done to me and why and if there are others. I will get answers or I will get vengeance, but I will not stay hidden any longer.

Fire Starter

Alexander stretched his hands out toward the pile of sticks he had stacked together in his back yard. Extending them, palms facing out, he started at the little pile of wood intently and focused his power like a laser beam. The power he could feel surging through him, had felt for awhile now.

His brow furrowed as he concentrated, a sheen of sweat breaking out on his forehead. He barely blinked, he focused harder.

Slowly, finally, a small tendril of smoke rose up from the pile, there was a slight flicker, then another, a crackling noise as the fire caught hold. Alexander did not break his concentration, he directed the spark, move over here, over there, heat the wood, catch, burn. His gaze intent as he mentally manipulated it.

Finally the fire caught with vigor. It popped and crackled as it flared up, the entire stack of twigs now engulfed in flames that danced and licked at the sky. Alexander broke his concentration and sat back, with a smile, quite pleased with his nine year old self as he watched his creation dance.

This story is a bit of an origin story for the character from The Would Be Thief.

Picking at the Past

I have decided that have at least two books of poetry already written. I have been writing for over 30 years after all. I have so much poetry, it just needs to be edited, organized and published. But that means going through it all, and with it, the memories. Which led to the following poem as I basically picked at scabs and poked at scars. Here it is:

Going back to the past

The pains still there

Right where I left it

Gotta unpack it, examine it

Look at it square in the eye

Measure it, claim it

Dig it out, write about it,

Make it my bitch

Everything there’s still the same

That’s why I don’t live there anymore

I’ve moved on,

Healed from it, left it, learned from it

Moved on past it

But still it wants acknowledgement

Hey, it happened, time to own it

My pain helped make me

What I am today

So it’s time to stop hiding,

Feeling ashamed,

Pushing my pain into the dark,

Deep, secret places of my heart

Like a vampire, the light will kill it

Drag it out and let it burn

Show the world what I’ve survived

No more shame, no more pain

Make it work for me

The final step, the final piece

Taking back what it took from me

So it no longer has the power

to make me bleed

 

 

 

 

 

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