By Bri Bones
I woke up this morning to a half dozen texts telling me that the SCOTUS affirmed that marriage discrimination was unconstitutional. I’ve spent most of the morning trying to formulate my thoughts into a coherent whole.
I can honestly say growing up, I never thought I’d see this day. Marriage was something for other people. I knew I was gay from a young age. I remember at around 8 or 9 taking the breast plate off of my He-Man action figure because I thought he looked better that way. I was the kid who was always friends with the girls, rather than the boys.
When my parents would take me grocery shopping, I always would go over and hang out at the magazine rack. I’d look at the comics, the kids magazines, all the things like that. But another thing I would sometimes look at were the men’s exercise/bodybuilder magazines. They gave me tingles I didn’t understand.
It was 9th grade when I finally realized a way to put a word to my feelings. I was at the library in my home town looking at books. I found a book called “A Boys Own Story” by Edmund White. It was a biographical tale of a young mans discovery of his homosexuality. I was sitting in the corner of the library reading it and all the feelings I’d felt crystallized in my mind. This was me! This was how I felt! Certainly the final chapter where he recounted his first full sexual experience in fairly explicit detail gave me the first erection I remember distinctly.
I never really felt angst about it. I recognized this was how I felt and I was mostly ok with it. I was never suicidal about it, never anyplace dark. However, this was for me only to know. No one, and I mean NO ONE! could know.
A year later, in high school, I got involved in theater. That’s where I met him. I’ll go ahead and call him Fred. Fred was another student. He had beautiful blue eyes and a mischievous smile. He super popular, yet he actually was friendly to me, the unpopular nerdy kid. We were cast in the same shows all through high school. Senior year, we were cast together in A Midsummers Nights Dream. I was Oberon, he was Puck. We were now working closer than we ever had. His costume in that show was just a pair of tights. He was shirtless with body glitter. Working that close to his shirtless torso, I discovered he also smelled good.
Our teacher had had the head of the theater department at her old school come see our performance for recruitment purposes. I wanted to go there so badly. When the performance was over, she came backstage to tell us that he loved our show, and that he was going to see about offering Fred a scholarship. I wasn’t even mentioned, and was devastated inside. However I bucked up and told him congrats. A bit later we were under the stage changing. It was just the two of us. He asked what was the matter. Apparently I wasn’t doing as good a job as I thought at hiding my disappointment. I finally said I was upset because I wasn’t good enough to get a scholarship. We talked for a bit, and eventually came to the point of hugging. And we held the hug. And I felt something poking me in the leg. Then, and I will always remember this moment, Fred kissed me. And I kissed him back.
Fred and I continued to fool around under the stage until we graduated a few months later. We went off to our separate colleges and eventually grew apart. He occasionally pops up as a “you may know” on Facebook. He’s married with kids, which is why I changed his name in this story.
College happened for me and I discovered other gay people who were out and happy. I began those first tentative steps out of the closet. I first told my sister, then some friends. It was Matthew Shepard’s murder that pushed me completely out. It seemed wrong for me to continue hiding when he died so horribly because of who he was. So out I went. I told my parents, coworkers, everyone, and I agree with what everyone says, it’s so much better being open and honest.
Today’s ruling got me thinking a lot about that little boy in Farmington, UT. He never thought he’d be able to get married. I’m crying tears of happiness that future generations of little gay kids will grow up knowing that they are the same, and be proud of who they are.