Wednesday, August 1, 2012

"I heard a strange story"

You may have noticed that I tend to preserve the anonymity of people I know when I talk about them. This is because I am not talking about them with their permission. In other cases, I don't want anyone taking a militant stance and hunting these people down.

I was at the 2012 Winkie Convention this weekend, and Saturday, I got a Twitter notification from my sister by text message:
Unbelievably shocked. I would have never guessed. I'm so proud of you, Linda. Words really don't express how much I admire your strength.
Disclaimer now: the woman's name is not "Linda." I am changing names to protect people. "Linda" was an active woman in our church's ministry and before I stopped regular attendance, was part of the youth ministry with me.

I can recall a class we gave in which we discussed with the youth the topic of homosexuality, taking the stance that it was not God's design and was thus wrong. I regretted helping teach this class long before I realized I was gay.

I sensed something was up and I needed to know what it was, so I called my sister immediately.

"I'm at a wedding," she explained. "Linda was here, and told me, 'I guess you know that Brian (her husband, again, name changed) and I are separated.' Well, I didn't know, and she explained to me that Brian had come out of the closet publicly. She'd known for years. I mentioned you to her and she was shocked."

To be honest, I did feel a little bit of wicked glee at hearing this. If there's such a thing as karma, it had gotten back to both of us. But on the other hand, despite Linda's poorly-informed stance on homosexuality, she is a good person who honestly cares about other people. During that infamous class, I even brought up the point, "I don't want you to think homosexuals are bad people" and she agreed with it.

But since that class was years ago (I left the Youth Group in 2008), how long did she know her husband was gay?

It's not like this was a young couple. Linda and Brian had two children who have grown up and they are now grandparents. How many years had Brian been in the closet?

The more I thought about it, the more I think the answer is quite a long time. The few times Brian tried to speak to the Youth Group (he worked with Linda in her first year, then left), it was about inadequacy. Sometimes, when we'd be made to work on a project together, he'd make me feel inadequate, often unfairly. I was unsure how to do a task and had no one to ask for help, and he'd return and belittle me for having done three things while I did nothing.

Was he really just frustrated about not being at terms with his sexuality? On a selfish note, it makes me feel a little satisfied that I was able to come to terms with mine so quickly. But on a loving note, I'm glad he finally found the courage to do so himself. I can't imagine what his family is going through with this, but I can only hope they'll continue to love him.

However, it doesn't seem they think they can go on living their lives as usual. My little brother informed me that they moved away.

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