10Nov/100

The Privileged Life of Cents and Sensibility

RECOVERED

It’s occurred to me again over the past few weeks that I lead a fairly privileged life. And no, it doesn’t mean I’m rich. I’m not, at least in a monetary sense. My last royalty check was around the $80 mark and I’m currently making less than my first job after I graduated from college. But, that being said, I do have a job, a roof over my head, food in my refrigerator (when I actually manage to go grocery shopping), a partner who I adore despite his grandmother who’d like to have me sleeping with the fishes and parents who have taken a huge, supportive interest in my life.

Let’s be honest, I don’t think it’s every parent’s dream to hear the words “I’m gay” come out of their kid’s mouth. There are certainly worse things, though. Something might actually have been wrong with me, like a legitimate medical problem. That’s fortunately not the case and while there’s still hope for them to have a grandchild one day–an adopted Himalayan whistle grandchild–at least they’ll be able to say I didn’t make their lives boring.

I’m also a survivor of bullying. There were days I didn’t think I’d make it to tomorrow, but I did, mostly because I looked at it in my head as living another day to annoy the people who were doing it to me. If my existence bothered them THAT much, then good. I could exist that way. And what did I do about it later in life? My therapy is that I wrote about them in my books. They were cleverly disguised as fiction and I’m now making an $80 profit off of them without their knowledge. That’s just how I dealt with it. Others haven’t been nearly as lucky.

What I cannot fathom, though, is after the number of suicides by gay youth and the spotlight on the issue, why is it still happening? There was a young man the other day who walked quite a distance only to throw himself out in front of oncoming traffic. Why? There’d just been an anti-bullying session at his high school a week or so earlier and there have been messages all over the place telling kids that they have choices, places to call, people to talk to and action that can happen. Why is this still happening and what aren’t the rest of us doing to help make it stop?

This is just one of many fights I wish could be won. And that’s another thing, too. Traveling around to the Pride Festivals and other cities doing book signings, I see a number of folks energized about a myriad of issues; raising money for Humane Societies, AIDS awareness, Breast Cancer awareness, adoption, gay marriage, gay rights, battered women, Veteran’s assistance, repeal DADT… The list goes on and they’re all worthwhile causes, every last one of them. It’s sad to me to know that there’s no way I can make a difference in them all, that I’ll have to pick and choose a couple and hope that someone else chooses the others.

You know, if even 1/3 of the energy during this latest election was spent addressing some of these issues instead of the ridiculous amount of rhetoric and political phone calls badmouthing candidates, we might have actually gotten somewhere with them. How many millions of dollars was spent on advertising that could have gone into programs to help those who needed it or even to our schools?

There’s no way to make everybody happy, but there’s certainly a way to help increase the ratio of those who are.

So yeah, I am privileged. I just spoke my mind and you read it. How many people can say they are even in a place in their life where that happens? I just have to use this venue wisely.

Until next time…

 

Original Responses

Pamela Carr says:
November 11, 2010 at 1:25 am
I couldn’t agree more Kage.

It is frustrating to not be able to monetarily support all the causes we want to. I have to pick and choose. I do it by supporting gay candidates that I think will change the way things are done in this country. I may not be able to give much but that’s the only way things will change. I wish I could do more but right now that’s not happening.

On a personal level I try to be supportive of my gay friends. Be there when they call, when they need a shoulder to cry on or lend an ear when they need to vent. I can’t truly know what they are going through but they need to know that all the straights aren’t a-holes out to redicule them. I’m not sure it makes a difference but I hope so.

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Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the novella Falling Awake (also to be re-published under his real name), and the upcoming Falling Awake II: Revenant.

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