Friday, April 19, 2013
Day of Silence
A friend of mine came out to me a month ago. Someone I have known for seventeen years, who has read (and sometimes helped edit) my novels for the past nine years, finally trusted me enough to say the words "I am gay" aloud and in my presence for the first time. Was I surprised? Not particularly. Was I touched beyond words at the trust this man had just placed in me? Absolutely. Because I know where he works. We were colleagues for nine years, and as sorry as it makes me to say it in this day and age, he would probably lose his job if he came out at work. I don't work there anymore (and haven't for eight years), and I'm about as safe a person to come out to as he's likely to find given what I now do for a living, but I've known him for seventeen years and he's known what I now do for a living for the past nine years. So today is for him, and for everyone like him who stands behind a veil of silence for fear of losing a job, who listens to colleagues talk about spouses, family, boyfriends or girlfriends without sharing any part of himself because if he opens his mouth, someone might ask about him, if he has a family, if he is married, if he has kids. The world is changing, albeit more slowly than I would like, but I long for the day when silence will no longer be the only viable choice for some people. I long for the day when our sexuality is as relevant as the color of our hair or the shape of our smiles. I believe that day is coming, but it can't come soon enough for people like my friend.