Thursday, August 14, 2014

Not That There's Anything Wrong With That

Seinfeld: "The Outing"
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I debated writing this blog, because I wasn't exactly sure what the point of it was going to be.  But after I started writing it, I realized what I want you to learn from it. Think before you speak, whether it's a racial slur, comment about someone's sexuality, or an insensitive comment. It might be just a word to you, but it can destroy the self esteem of the person you're saying it to.  There needs to be more uplifting in the word and less tearing down.  Parents, we owe it to our kids to lead the way.

Long before Jerry Seinfeld tackled the subject of homosexuality with the now famous phrase "Not that there's anything wrong with that.", I found myself saying it and quite a bit.  If you haven't seen the episode in question, it's called "The Outing",  and you can read a review of it here.  Long story short, a reporter overhears Jerry and George talking and comes to the conclusion that the friends are actually partners.  Things are taking out of context and it just adds to the hilarity of the situation.

Interviewing Buff Bagwell
I'm 41 years old, married with three children.  People still ask those who know me if I'm gay.  It doesn't bother me anymore, but back in the day it did.  I guess I understand why someone who didn't know about my family might question my heterosexuality. I'm obsessed with a sport that involves muscle bound guys covered in baby oil and rolling around in skin tight shorts.  Heck, I've even done it myself. Then there's my love for The Golden Girls and don't forget that I never missed an episode of Desperate Housewives during its run on ABC.

8th grade... WOW
The questioning of my sexual preference started in the 8th grade and by someone who might surprise you.  It was a teacher who made a comment to me in front of the class questioning whether I was gay.  Some of my classmates laughed at the statement, which I can't even remember anymore.  What I do remember I was embarrassed and humiliated and couldn't wait for the bell to ring. I also remember the kind words of the girl who sat in front of me in that class.  She told me not to listen to the teacher or the laughter.

The college years...
All through high school I had several classmates and coworkers ask me if I was gay, despite the fact that I had a crush on several girls and made my infatuations obvious (I'll refer you to this blog) Looking back on it now, I'm not bothered by the fact that people assumed I was gay.  It bugs me that it bothered back then.  Like Jerry and George said, there is nothing wrong with being gay. But to a teenager with an already poor sense of self and fragile ego, being different, even when you're really not can be devastating.

This may not help my case...
Fast forward to adulthood.  I've lived in this community for more than a decade. Recently, a friend told me a mutual acquaintance thought I was gay when we first met.  I laughed about it and made an inappropriate joke, but it was okay, because we were with a friend who really is gay.  That makes it better, right?  Another friend refers to me as the gayest straight person he knows.  Twenty years ago, that would have bothered me, but today I take it in stride.  

Kids (back then and today) hurl insults at our friends, calling them "gay" or worse.  While we didn't think the person in question was really gay, it was certainly meant to be an insult.  The thing I still don't get is, WHY is being gay an insult?  Do homosexuals call each other "hetero" or "straight" when they're fighting?  

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