Confessions!! Wow, the timing of this could not be any better. I’m a little nervous about the confession, actually it’s not nervousness, it’s embarrassment but either way, here it goes. I’m confessing that I was once a homophobic……….. I’m stepping outside of my area of expertise in saying that I was a homophobic but I’m not sure if I fall into one of those categories where once you realize you have the disorder, it’s always with you, it just happens to be suppressed. But I truly feel that those old emotions and feelings are gone, in fact I know they are. And like with many phobias or prejudices or negative attitudes that a person displays towards another person or group of people, I had no real basis for my feelings. It was one of those situations where I did not understand homosexuality, therefore I didn’t understand homosexuality-if that makes any sense at all. Sort of like a person that doesn’t understand football (the rules, the objective of the game, what each position is responsible for etc.) doesn’t understand football. But thanks to a book tentatively titled How I Got Turned Out that I was involved with and will be released soon, I’ve had a lot of my uneasiness, misconceptions, false notions, misnomers and bluntly put, my hang-ups, cleared up ( I’m about to show my level of shallowness but I thought men were gay only because they wanted to have sex with another man). The book involved me interviewing and interacting with 30 GAY men and from this I was made aware of some things that many homophobics should be enlightened to (which is one of the driving forces for me publishing the book-to educated narrow-minded people like myself ).
Long story short, there came a point in time when my new found outlook and disposition was put to the test. On Tuesday November 27, 2012 I was riding D.C.’s metrorail redline on my way to speak with a few owners of small independent bookstores when two guys kissed each other as they departed ways for the day. First, I was shocked because rarely do I see two people kiss one another goodbye anymore but to see two men passionately kiss each other, in person, was a new experience. I heard the mumblings of others around me but there I stood, non-opinionated and non-phased about what I just saw. Clearly a sign that I was moving in the right direction. I will admit that before my involvement with the book (How I Got Turned Out) I would have not only been one of those persons contributing to the mumblings but chances are great that I would have made a degrading comment to the gentlemen.
All in all, I must confess that I’m a changed man. I consider my prior attitude towards gay men equivalent to that of a person who is proud of calling themselves a rascist-simpy appalling. As an African-American man there are still challenges and hardships that I must endure simply because of my skin color but that’s irrelevant to this confession. But I can say without reservation that I now understand the challenges and hardships that the LGBT (I hope I got that right) has to endure. It’s not easy for them to be who they are: hence the reason for many remaining in the closet but thankfully I’m one less person who stands in the way of their happiness with the lifestyle they live.
Look out for an excerpt from my book How I Got Turned Out by Brock Riverdale that will be featured on my WordPress blog.