Hello and welcome to my new blog Gays With Rights. As you probably guessed by the title of this blog; this will be a clearing house for all things Gay Rights.
Now I know what you’re saying to yourself, “Why in the hell do we need another blog about gay rights? Don’t we already have a million of those all over the internet?” The answer is yes, we do. But there’s always room for a little more perspective, even when the room is already so full of people there’s barely any space to make your way to bathroom.
Just what perspective do I bring with me you ask? Well, allow me to introduce myself in this inaugural blog post and let you, the readers know, why I decided to start this up. My name is Blaine. I am a native of Spokane, Washington. For those who don’t know where that is; I don’t blame you. Very few people do. We’re the biggest city on the East Side of the state of Washington; nestled next to the border of our crazy neighbor Idaho. Outside of Spokane, there’s very little but farm fields and the occasional small truck stop town for at least 90 miles. Spokane is a notoriously Conservative area and always lags a little behind in trends (Probably one of the reasons I’m just not starting a blog?).
I was born and raised in a traditional Conservative atmosphere. I was a true child of the church growing up; sitting in the pews at least twice a week listening to sermons, signing hymns and praying until my knees hurt. But along the way something happened: I realized I was gay. I started to realize this at the young age of 10 when I found myself utterly drawn to the male figure in so many ways. I wasn’t sure what to call it. I wasn’t sure what to think about it; but I knew I was different than almost everyone around me.
I battled an intense guilt and shame for years. Even as I came to understand what I was, I was busy trying to suppress it by any means necessary. I prayed to God every night to change me. I forced myself to have sex with women knowing full well that it wouldn’t change who I was and would likely hurt them in the process when they would someday find out that I wasn’t attracted to them in the same way they were to me. This behavior continued well through high school; a place where I was to meet the first openly gay men (Two twins whose strength I admire more than words can say) and an openly lesbian woman I had ever known in my life. The abuse I saw these three endure only hardened my resolve to stay in the closet. As they walked down the hall whispers of “Fags” and “Fudge packers” would fill the room. Some of our peers were far less passive about their attitude toward these men. More than a few times I vividly remember several people in our school jeering at them loudly, shouting slurs and even threatening physical assault on the twins. Due to my fear of being discovered as gay, I either stood in silence or laughed uncomfortably as the abuse went on day by day. There’s not a day I wonder why I was such a coward as to allow this kind of bullying to go on unchecked.
It wasn’t until years after high school and some time away from home that I came out. I was 21. I battled with the decision to tell anyone for months, and it led me to some dark places. I started cutting myself routinely. The emotional anguish had become so great for me that I thought if only I could experience physical pain that maybe I would feel something more than isolation, depression and shame.
Initially I came out to who I considered a good friend of mine. We worked together and I felt comfortable telling her my deepest secret. That would prove to be a fatal mistake. Little did I know, she wasn’t keeping my secret to herself as I had thought. She was telling everyone I worked with; and more importantly she ended up revealing my secret to none other than my best friend and roommate. Him and I were like brothers. We did everything together. It took me at least a month after coming out to her to work up the courage to say something to him; and the results weren’t good.
It was a dark evening and I was waiting for him to come home. He was closing at the fast food place we both worked at. I sat on the couch in complete silence, staring at ceiling as my heart pounded and beads of sweat dripped down my cheek. The time passed so slowly. But hour after hour, he never arrived. So I decided to text him and let him know that I had something to tell him. His response was what I dreaded the most; he already knew and he was thinking about moving out because of it. I don’t think I’ve ever cried as hard as I did in my life once I read that text. It was so bad that I was sent home from work early.
My emotions were a whirlwind of despair. I did the one thing I thought I would never find myself doing that day; trying to commit suicide. I grabbed a bottle of booze, a bottle of pills and my knife and went into my room. I don’t remember much after that, except that everything went black. I ended up being taken to the hospital, recovered and spent some time having a psychiatric evaluation done (in which they surprisingly allowed me to leave to go back home).
My journey to being who I am today didn’t end there, but to condense the rest of my travels: I spent several years as a gay with very little ties to the LGBT community. I never went out. I never volunteered. I never fought prejudice or bigotry. In short, I was complacent to be out, but anything beyond that meant stepping outside of my comfort zone and I didn’t want to take that leap. Things have changed since then. I am now involved in several LGBT organizations and very active in the community. It took a long time to get here, but now that I am I couldn’t imagine going back.
As you might guess, my perspective is one that is rooted in the firm belief that everyone should do their part to fight bigotry. And while I strive to do that in my own backyard in Spokane, Washington: I want to expand my reach. This is why I decided to start this blog. The LGBT community is constantly being assaulted physically, mentally, etc. and there’s no reason to not let our voices be heard. I hope my readers will join me for frank discussions of various LGBT rights issues and battles taking place all around the country and the world.
Now that this first post is done… We’ll get on to the actual blogging soon 🙂