We all wonder at times why we are, what we are, and who we are. I have always considered teaching to be one of the more honorable professions and even considered going back to school to pick up a teaching degree. That said, it never happened. What I did realize not too long ago, is that I am teaching every day. Through my openness, compassion, and ability to articulate, I teach my fellow humans every day about being gay. I teach not tolerance, but acceptance. Recently an associate of mine came to me and said "Tom, I just don't get it" referring to being gay and what it is that we wanted. After considering the circumstances, I used the best analogy I could. This was a middle aged black man making the statement. My response centered around the equal rights movement of the 60's. I explained that all "we" wanted was what everyone else wants. The right to love whomever we choose, the right to make binding agreements that are recognized and honored by all, and acceptance by our fellow humans. I likened our plight to that of his own, and reminded him that it wasn't long ago that African Americans were treated with a similar stigma. I looked at him and said "I don't expect you to understand why it is that I can fall in love with another man. Just like you should not expect me to understand what it is like to be a person of color. Regardless of our inability to feel each others' feelings, we need to accept each other and respect those differences to make life work in this world". I was so proud of myself, and still am. I have no idea where the words came from, but he "Got IT", shook my hand and told me what a pleasure it was to know me... What else could I possibly need or want?
18 hours ago