I’ve never written a letter to Everyone In The World before. I’m writing to tell you that I’m gay.
Before you proceed, please do take 39 seconds to watch and listen to this video, as it perfectly sums up my feelings about all this.
I started this blog back in 2010, partly as an outlet and partly as a writing project and partly to help people. I wanted to write the kind of thing I would have liked to read sixteen years ago, so that people who stand where I stood then wouldn’t feel as alone as I did.
The blog’s a big deal in my life, and getting bigger. More and more, writing and talking about this issue is What I Do, so it makes sense to be up front about it.
Until today, I’ve written under a pseudonym, Steve Gershom. “Steve” was because “It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”, ha ha. “Gershom” was partly an inside joke with my mother (which she can tell you about in the comments if she wants to), and partly because Gershom means “stranger” in Hebrew, and I’ve spent a lot of time feeling like a stranger. Plus I like how it sounds.
Why the pseudonym? I wanted to be free to be as candid as possible, and I wasn’t ready to do that under my own name. It will probably still be weird to talk about such personal stuff in public. I think and hope I’m doing it for the right reasons, and not just to be some kind of exhibitionist, but I can’t be sure.
I also didn’t want people to know I was gay. I was ashamed of being gay, because I had been taught to be ashamed; even though it doesn’t make sense to be ashamed of something you didn’t choose, and even though it’s just one among very many weird things that can happen to ordinary human beings.
I was also scared that the people in my life, especially the men, would start to keep their distance, or pity me, or see me as Different, or not want to hug me anymore ever, or just generally be weirded out.
The main reason I’m not ashamed or scared anymore is the way my friends have treated me since I told each of them. You people are such a blessing to me. I mean Jamey T. and Ben L. and Amos H. and Matt D. and John C. and Josh L. and John P. and Becca L. and Rosaleen T. and Berna S. and Ellen T. and Phil S. and Mike S. and Pete C. and Matt J. and John M. and Gregg W. and Richard R. and Jon G. and, and, and…! You see how blessed I am, probably not even to be able to remember (although I really hope I did) all of the people who have shown me earth-moving amounts of love. I don’t know if half of you understand half of what you’ve done for me, but I’ll be grateful for you till the day I die, and after.
(A special thank you goes out to Simcha Fisher, who is my favorite blogger and my inspiration in seventy different ways and also, incidentally, my sister, and Leila Miller, who posted the piece that started it all.)
I guess the only thing I’m still worried about is — laugh if you want — that this might hurt my chances with the ladies,
because (if you need a label), you could call me basically gay with some straight tendencies, or basically straight with some gay tendencies, or bisexual, or Same-Sex Attracted, or a Kinsey 4 (ish). Whatever. I just mean to say that I don’t think it’s impossible that I’ll end up married to a woman. But if that’s the case, then we’re going to have to talk about this anyway, so.
The Real Bombshell
You probably know this already, but I’m celibate, because I’m Catholic. You will not hear me talking about When Oh When Will The Church Get With The Times, because that kind of talk is boring nonsense. Guys, the whole point of having the Church is having one thing, just one!, that you can depend on to always be the same. Thank God for that.
If you want a church that constantly changes to fit in with whatever’s fashionable this decade, there are a bazillion options, and you’re bound to find one that is custom-tailored to your particular set of prejudices. Happy shopping.
It’s actually harder to come out as celibate than to come out as gay. Various people have pitied me, or tried to convince me that my life is vewwy vewwy sad, or tried to talk me out of it, or even surreptitiously tried to set me up with their gay friends. If you do this shit, I will not spin-kick you in the face, but I will very badly want to.
I’d also prefer that you not go “Hey but have you heard about this reparative therapy thing,” because I have, and I have my own thoughts about all that, which I’d be happy to discuss with you.
If you think I’m wrong to take this position, that’s okay, and I’d be super happy to talk with you about that too, preferably in person and over a few beers. But remember that I believe what I believe because of sixteen years of debate, reflection, prayer, study, and hard work; and also remember that I love the Church so very much, and I don’t like it when people badmouth her, especially if all they know is what they’ve read in HuffPo and the New York Times. Puh-leez.
Some people have a problem with the word “gay”. That’s okay; I get it. I have a problem with it too. I’ve written a little about that. It’s not a perfect word, but words are like that. You have to know the context. My life is the context. Get to know me first, and then we can argue about it.
There’s just no way I can cover everything in this post, so please talk to me! Ask me questions. It would be very hard to make me feel awkward, and if I’m not comfortable answering something, I’ll just tell you. I’d really love to hear from you, and hearing from you will help me freak out a little bit less today.
I’m being public about this, not because I need everybody to talk nonstop about my sexuality, and not because I think every gay person has some sort of duty to tell everyone just how gay they are, but because I believe that homosexuality shouldn’t be a Super Secret Scary Thing That Nobody Can Know About. This is my way of trying to bring that about.
Peace and prayers,