|Photo Description: X2 in a large font, the X green the 2 blue|
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.