Her exact words were “I’m fucking 71 years old, and I’m finally out of the closet!” She is beautiful, highly intelligent, successful, and if that doesn’t make her interesting enough she is also an incredible artist. I have known this incredible woman for many years. She was the love of my family members life for over three decades. I wish I could tell you that they were still together, but sadly that is not the case. I also wish I could tell you that my family member was openly living her life out of the closet, but that is also sadly not the case.
While Ms. 71 is feeling the incredible feeling of freedom, something the straight population takes for granted, my family member remains imprisoned by the fear of being rejected by the other family members. I can not express to you the great sorrow that fills my heart, and the number of times I have wanted to tell her that it’s okay I know. That it does not change how I love her! In this situation my love for her is not the love she fears losing.
Ms. 71 has very openly told me that if I were to say all of the things I long to say to her I would be violating an extremely personal boundary. She further explained how extremely difficult it was for her to finally live her life openly. Ms. 71 is only 71 chronologically. Mentally she is around 40. She knows that the gay lifestyle is much more accepted by the younger generations, but is quick to remind me that she (and my family member) did not spend their formative years the same way the younger generation has. She also points out that even though the times have changed, and people are more accepting there is still a great deal of prejudice towards the gay population.
Recently I was reminded that there is an incredible feeling of self failure when someone who is gay is put in the most awkward position of remaining respectful to those who have been raised in an era of intolerance. In my view she was incredibly graceful in her decision to show respect towards this much older generation. I felt it was an extremely awkward situation that she had been placed in, and I expressed my admiration for her decision to be much more respectful to those who had not been as respectful to her.
She thanked me, and replied ” I’m still not going to give up on making change a bit at a time, one of these days I’m going to pucker up the courage to tell someone twice my age that I’m gay, and maybe run away afterwards! A woman with the ability to be both respectful, and humorous is bound to make incredible changes in this world! 😉