Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The National Kiss-In - my area

So, I found out about the national kiss-in through facebook (although I carefully did not join the group) and decided that since my parents are still out of town that I could go to my first "protest" event. I thought - this won't be a big deal, since my parents were out of town, and anyone that they know who could tell them is unlikely to be downtown.

I also thought it would be a rather big event, as the description online said there would be kissing booths and GLBT vendors. I thought maybe I could buy a button or something while I was down there, and maybe meet someone, too.

So, I ride the train down there, but I'm running on gay time myself, so I'm a little late. As I get off the train, I notice some rainbow flags across the intersection, and I think (Oh, that must be the start of it) Little did I know, it was all of it. There were only about 30 people there, and no venders that I saw - same goes for the kissing booths. They did have a police presence protecting them, and a core group of people took turns with a megaphone. Every so often they would exhort us to find someone to kiss, and I kissed a couple of people that I don't know (first time *that's* ever happened) It was nice to feel part of a movement, and to feel that I was with people like me without having to go to a bar, and I got caught up a little in the rhetoric, so when they had an "open mic session" I stepped up and said a few words. I think I acquitted myself fairly well on the soapbox, but afterwards I noticed that there was a camera-man there from a local news station.

Suddenly I was freaked out.

What if, in their coverage of this event, they showed me in the background. What if, in their coverage of this event, they showed me *with the microphone* **calling myself a Lesbian in public** What if they showed this coverage, and people from my parents' church or work *saw* it. What if they saw it, and *said something* to my parents! Oh boy. That would be so not cool, since I'm living with my parents, economically dependent on them, and owe several thousand dollars on a student loan that my dad is a cosigner on (which he must remind me of, apparently at least once a day...) This would especially not be cool, since because of ... shall we say ... some bad decisions related to emotional instability, my parents are way into transparency (mine) recently, and would take finding out about my orientation through a coworker *badly* since they would see it as me hiding important things from them - which is what being in the closet is kind of about. And that, ironically, is what is mainly keeping me in the closet with them. I think they could deal with my sexuality better than the fact that I've kept it from them for years. I want to wait until at least I have a job, have paid off my loan, and live on my own before coming out to them, so I will have repaired their trust in me somewhat before landing this bomb on them. All that to say, while I plan someday to come out to them, today is not that day, and if someone told them before that point it would be *very bad*.

So I was moderately freaked out about the local news. I thought about calling them and requesting them not to run any segment where I was talking, because if I was just in the background I could simply say I was there in my "A" role (you know, the "A" from GLBTA) which I've developed to some degree in case of awkward questions. I was afraid of doing this, because knowing my luck, I'd run into some guy on a bad day who'd make sure I was in if I requested them not to show me. Such people exist - they aren't exactly following the SPJ code of ethics, but they exist none-the-less.

I ended up not calling. I figured that since there wasn't a reporter there, just a camera-man, that it was kind of unlikely to even show up on the news, and if it did, it almost certainly would be a clip of less than 30 seconds, and most likely contain the people that were running it, since they were at the mic a lot more than me.

So, reason triumphs over paranoia, and then I made a point to watch the news - where they didn't say one word about the Kiss-in, after all.


Queers United said...

sad but not surprising they didn't cover it. sorry for your fear, but you did the right thing by going and standing up for justice.

Cecilia said...

Little by little you are figuring out how to be who you are in ways that are safe, and daring... you will be where you need to be when you need to be there. I'm so happy for you!

Joan K said...

I've been there, I went to a GLBT wedding fair and to my horror there was a TV crew there. I spent the entire time being sure to stay away from the cameras.

You will get to a place where you will have the freedom to be out. Coming out of the closet is scary, takes time and has to be very calculated. I hope you find a way to live away from your parents and be independent soon.

Elisabeth said...

I'm a 43 year old Baptist bisexual. I'm married & just recently decided to tell a few people. I've never done it with a woman, just looked at porn & stuff. The few people I've told have been very supportive. But, yeah, I've heard some people say the meanest things about homosexual people. So I know that if you decide to come out, it does have to be carefully.

Birdie said...

My heart aches at the contortions you must go through to feel safe. I'm so sorry. But brava for going to the Kiss-In!

Even though I'm a child of the sixties, I went to my first protest last November to protest Prop 8. I had no idea how I—a straight Christian—would be received or whether I would show up on TV myself. My heart was pounding. But I was graciously accepted by a much younger crowd and I lived to do it another day.

noe said...

my partner shared your blog with me and it hurts my heart because it reminds me of the complicated, painful confusing process of being in the closet. We both grew up in texas in the same presbyterian church. We are both in seminary at a school where there are 7 openly queer students on campus, as well as a faculty member.

One of my friends grew up baptist, and is in an internship where he is learning about more accepting baptist denominations. Are you aware of the Alliance of Baptists (http://www.allianceofbaptists.org)? Also have you visited this site(http://wabaptists.org/)?

Sorry for the babbling, I just want you to know you aren't alone. I lived with my parents when I was 25 and closeted in East Texas and it was terrible. Take care of yourself and do what you can to get out and surround yourself with a community that loves you and supports you!

thinking of you and praying for you. take care.