Ever since I was around twelve years of age, I have known that there was a certain way about one of my friends that was not exactly right, but I could not get my little mind to detect what the ‘abnormality’ was that I detected in this friend. He and I were roughly around the same age, but where as I hung with the guys, he could never be found with boys. His daily routine revolved around the girls and the clothes that they wore and how they dressed. His sisters were his playmates on rainy days because he never chose to hang with us in the ‘clubhouse’.
My friend, whom I will refer to as Whitney from this moment on, grew up in a house of women – his Mother, Grandmother, two Aunts, two sisters, and a baby brother. His father was a working drunk – he would manage to make it to work in the morning, but by the time he returned home in the evening, he was drunk for the remaining of the day – sad, but true. This was his immediate family!
By the time I was fourteen years of age, the neighbor boys were all regulars at my house. Our yard was the biggest in the neighbor and we used it for the neighborhood’s playground – New Orleans had not opened itself to integration at the time, the designated ‘White’ municipal playground across the street, having already been established, would not tolerate a Black playground across the street. While it was alright for us to play in the ‘White’ playground, we could not use the pool in summer because they never filled it with water after the NFL sued the city to integrate all public places. So rather than cause a ruckus, we used my backyard instead, or played on the levee by the Mississippi.
As was the occasion, I sometimes visited my friend Whitney just to see how he was doing. I invited him to come and play football with us and was pleasantly surprised when he took my offer and joined us for a day of football. Each team consisted of about seven guys each. We told Whitney to play on the line as a blocker – he wasn’t that aware of what the skilled positions did, and it was the only thing we were sure that he would not screw up. Whitney had long talon-like fingernails! As it turned out, they were also weapons of destruction!
The first offensive play was our opponents’ and they chose to pass the ball. Whitney dashed through the line throwing people aside and scratched/tackled the quarterback. There was uproar from the other side – Whitney was violating too many rules of the game of football! We explained to Whitney what the proper conduct was when engaging the opposite team – he said that he understood, and we resumed the game.
The next play was a running play. Whitney tore through the blockers and leaped on top of the ball carrier’s head and slammed him to the ground! The other side refused to play football with Whitney anymore, many were just pissed that Whitney had scratched them severely. We were forced to get another player. Luckily, another person had only a moment ago entered the yard and he took Whitney’s place.
The entire time that he played football with us that day I could not help but noticed that the thing that I had been trying to figure out about Whitney was being made clear to me – his feminine side had shown in everything that he did. It wasn’t an act; he had run fast, but like a girl would run; he had the sure hands to tackle, but he tackled with all the grace and charm of a female roller derby player. I knew, at that moment, that my friend was gay.
Years later, I ran into Whitney on the streets and my initial discover was full blown – he was dressed in as feminine a way as one could have expected. He was still my friend then, and to this day. I have no idea where he is, or even if he is still alive – I joined the Navy and saw how the rest of the world lives. He was living the life that was handed him by a power greater than both of us.
I said all of that, to say this… the sexuality of an individual is not something that he wholly decides to do. I believe that sexuality is determined by the hormonal factors that medical practitioners have yet to discern. That there is ‘male’ homosexuality and ‘female’ homosexuality is also a proven fact. All of these things are as foreign to a heterosexual person as is a platypus to a duck; and while both animals have similarities, there is a fundamental difference that makes them unique unto themselves.
Furthermore, to present a bias attitude toward those that don’t function in their daily life as others do is morally wrong and should not be tolerated under any circumstances. Just suppose the shoe was on the other foot – homosexuality is the norm and heterosexuality is a disgusting way of life that is to be ridiculed. Think of how you would feel as a heterosexual – if you were living a secret life and someone decided that it was time to ‘out’ you! Could you withstand the pressure of dealing with family about this matter? Could you mentally handle the ostracizing from ‘friends’ that had thought, but never said anything? That is the life of a closet homosexual.
We are not sitting in a Court of Law in judgment of our fellow man. The rights and privileges of every human being are paramount to civil justice. The right to marry and conduct one’s self in a family manner is totally within the rights of all of us. I can remember when it was a moral sin for a ‘White’ person to marry a ‘Black’ person. Is there any difference in the prejudices that we afford homosexuality and those prejudices that were in place against interracial marriage – no?
Finally, let me remind you that the use of the Bible to influence whether the sexual preference of a certain people is forbidden – is not the right of mankind. Sure, the Bible does address these issues – it says that man shall not sleep with man; it says the same thing about women sleeping with women, but let’s not forget who is responsible for all of us inhabiting this Earth. God made Heaven and Earth and all that is in it; man wrote the Bible! Man is not the one to judge the conduct of another when comes to the sexuality of all of God’s creatures. That is the sole responsibility of God and Him who sits at the right-hand of God. Judge not, less ye be judged.
In a democracy, silence is not golden; it is condonance in the face of injustices; it is fear, where the thought of reprisal fosters control – Rodney A. Davis