Today is “National Coming Out Day“, and the “National Equality March and Rally” in Washington DC. It is also the start of a new feature here; every Sunday I will post a quote from the lyrics of Romanovsky & Phillips, with commentary. Some, such as today’s selection, are thoughtful while others will celebrate the lighter side of life.
I picked this verse from “Family Of Lovers“* listening to Lady Gaga speak at the Rally. She made a point of thanking those of us who have fought against hatred, bigotry and injustice since the last century. Although not quite old enough to have been at The Stonewall, I’m not far behind. Growing up in rural southern Ontario in the 60s and 70s I was blessed with a strong sense of self. Strong enough to know that the rest of the world (at least every one who didn’t think I deserved equal rights) was wrong. Much of that is a gift from my parents; some of it is just part of who I am.
Over the years, moving from village to small city back to Toronto, I met so many people who were not able to stand up to homophobia. From suicide attempts to people denying their basic reality; young people whose lives were ruined by the hatred. Crippling shame, lack of self-worth, dreams not realized out of the belief they weren’t deserved. I’ve been “Queer bashed” and fired simply because I’m gay; my relationships (one of seven years, and my current one approaching the same duration) treated as less than any of the dozens of “Hollywood marriages” that last for months (or weeks).
I moved down here in 1994 not because I no longer love T.O. (city of my birth; city I visit annually; city to which I will some day return to live). After too many hours working with the Aids Committee of Toronto and other organizations, after too many funerals, too many lives snuffed out because they were ‘disposable’, too many names on the Aids Memorial in Toronto, and far too many panels in The Quilt I needed to live somewhere else. Not to escape, but to provide some ‘breathing space’ and time. Time to start again to live.
Because no- I can’t forget the past.