Closets

Portia’s totally gay, I said to my then-girlfriend.

No way! How do you know? she said with an accusing tone.

Gaydar, I laughed. You’ll see.

A couple of years later, Portia came out.

Today, a song floated around and I thought, This is totally about a woman. Soon enough, I realized the entire album was about this relationship, hidden from view, though it dropped plenty of crumbs. A simple search confirmed my suspicions, though nothing is offically on record — and I write this based on my spidey-sense. In other words, it takes a once-closeted gay woman to know one. This singer is two decades younger and it makes me sad that people still hide who they love in 2018. She has power, immense wealth, worldwide popularity and a rock-solid brand. You’d think it would be easy with her success — and tons of gay fans — to say I’m gay, lesbian, queer, pansexual…

Laws and opinions may evolve but shame and fear don’t have an expiration date. In my church, homosexuality was such a dreadful sin, it wasn’t even worth a discussion. When I discovered my attraction to women, it was easy to hide because a certain level of affection is accepted, even encouraged, as long as it stayed in the friend zone. Once I fell in love in Christian college, there was the very real danger of being expelled, as well as facing a world in the 1990s that mocked and hated gay folk. That didn’t matter: even if I was welcomed with a rainbow parade, I still had deep indoctrination, homophobic family/friends and the biggest obstacle: hatred for myself.

That is something that wealth and success can’t touch — and what remains is the arduous journey: learning to love and accept yourself, no matter what the world thinks. So, I’m sending lots of love and energy to anyone struggling with their closets, especially the singer who fills the air around me as I write this.

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