Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Out X 2

Photo Description: X2 in a large font, the X green the 2 blue
"Sure, go ahead, write about it. I don't mind at all." He was shaking his head and laughing as he said it. I'd seen him around a fair bit, usually whipping by me in his chair, in various places downtown. He's young, a bit of a daredevil, and with sly good looks. We'd fallen into chatting because he chose to. He's someone that always acknowledged me when he saw me but never made any effort to stop or talk or connect in any way. So when he pulled up beside me and asked if I had a minute, I was surprised. I was lucky because, at that moment, I did have a minute.

I was further surprised to know that he read Rolling Around in My Head and knew who I was and what I did, and more importantly in this case, what I thought. He also told me that he's listened to a lecture I'd given that a friend had taped for him at one of my lectures - without permission I might add. It was after the lecture that he'd decided that he wanted to talk to me. He said that he liked my story and wanted to give me one more.

He said that when he came out to his parents as gay, he, wrongly, thought that it was the hardest thing he would ever do. He feared their rejection and instead met complete acceptance. "My parents have always been very supportive of me," he said, "or I thought they were." I asked him what he meant and he told me that they were very much of the 'the only disability is a bad attitude' kind of parents and they discouraged him from seeing himself as having a disability, discouraged him from going to activities for others with disabilities and actively encouraged him to speak of himself in a 'I don't consider myself disabled' manner. He loved this as a teen. He loved their insistence that he was not the thing he feared he was.

The upshot of all this is he's fallen in love, his boyfriend is, apparently, able to part the clouds on even the darkest morning. They have been dating for almost a year and he still hasn't introduced him to his parents. He's terrified to because his boyfriend also has a disability. "They accept that I'm dating a man, but they are going to have a lot of trouble with the fact that he is disabled. I know that they will automatically think that I can do 'better' as if the best can be bettered."

He told me that when he first read me here, talking about 'coming out as disabled' and then heard it again on the lecture, he joked that I bang on about it a fair bit, that he thought the idea was silly. But, now that he's faced with this situation, he's going to go home and tell his parents he's disabled and he's OK with it. That he has identified himself as a disabled man and has pride in that identity.

"After they get over the shock, and maybe some minor yelling," I'm going to bring my boyfriend home for dinner.

He said, "May I," asking me permission without me understanding why, then he reached over and gave me a hug. "Thanks," he said pulling away, "I just wanted to borrow some of your courage, I'm going to need it."

I told him that I thought he had courage enough, he grinned, nodded, and rolled away.


Anonymous said...

That pebble.....and all of those ripples! Beautiful

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

A chip off the old block - and you aren't even related.

Cynthia F. said...

Bravo to the both of you! And this is a good reminder of the great diversity of opinions and feelings among those with disabilities.

Princeton Posse said...

Wow, how far reaching your words are Dave. You just never know do you?

Savannah Logsdon-Breakstone said...

Lovely post.

(Off topic: having trouble reading the blog- I think you changed your background? and it's not opaque over the text, so it's making me read the text against a background image rather than a plain surface and that's... pretty difficult. I highlighted the whole post in order to get through it. :( )