Bigots surface on Coming Out Day

October 11 is National Coming Out Day. It’s a day to tell the people you love that you’re a homosexual. Of course it helps to be a closeted homosexual, but there aren’t any rules. Actually I’d like to see it become a more popular holiday. Currently, it’s slightly above Stuttering Awareness Week and well below April Fools Day. I’d like to combine the three holidays. That way you could have a guy jump out of his Mom’s closet (perhaps even sporting one of her dresses) and shout,
“S-s-surprise Mom, I’m G-g-gay!”
And depending on Mom’s response, he could either shout,
“April Fools!” or “Do you still wears these p-p-pumps!”
I’m all for gay people coming out of the closet. About a year ago a close friend came out to me. I’d known her since grade school, and though I can’t say I was surprised by her lesbianism, I rambled on about how great it was for over an hour. I must have said, “Hey at least you don’t have to worry about birth control!” two dozen times. After I hung up the phone I had convinced even myself that life would be better as a lesbian.
Then I remembered that the thought of kissing another woman grossed me out.
Our friendship became more complicated when she got into a relationship. I hated saying my girlfriend has a girlfriend. Before, when she was in denial about her sexuality, I had her all to myself. Now, after years of her listening to me complain about guy troubles, I would have to put up with her Casanova smiles and three-week love-reunions. (Who the hell counts weeks?)
But I got over it … mostly.
During my last year of high school I had to adjust to the fact that most of my friends were gay. My male friends knew how to apply eye-liner better than I did. They subscribed to “Vogue.” They looked great in short skirts. At prom there were more same-sex couples dancing cheek-to-cheek than straight couples. What was so wonderful about that experience was that the straight couples didn’t care, or stare.
Unfortunately, a lot of people out in the `real world’ do. The hate-filled Nazi skinheads have taken a back seat and the new face of homophobia is much more saccharin sweet. For example, John and Anne Paulk who graced the August 17 cover of Newsweek. They were the homeliest couple I have ever seen. I’m not faulting them because of their ugliness — John was actually quite stunning in a tiara. The Paulks are married with a child, but before their blissful union began, Anne was a lesbian and John was a drag queen. Talk about baggage.
The Paulks credit the salvation of their little homosexual souls to Transformation Ministries, a branch of Exodus International. Exodus and other groups like N.A.R.T.H. (National Association of Research and Therapy for Homosexuality) are dedicated to turning gay people straight, then married, then into parents. Their ultimate goal is an adorable retired couple living in a Florida condo — meaning Grandpa’s fantasies about Keanu Reeves ended after he lost his prostate and Grandma still watches reruns of “Xena: Warrior Princess.”
These groups, which are funded by the Christian Coalition, transform homosexuals by quoting the Bible, banning masturbation and using group therapy. They shuffle gay men onto sports teams and lesbians take classes on lipstick application. The men are told to fight their desire for other men and the women are crammed into horrible floral print dresses and baby bunny sweat shirts. The last step to straightening out gay men is for them to make eye contact and flirt with straight women.
As a single, straight female I find this very disturbing. VERY DISTURBING. I’m sorry, but I don’t want to date a man who has at any point in their life — however distant — experienced stubble burn from kissing a man. I think it’s unusually cruel to feed on people’s insecurities and their relationship with God. In short, I don’t want anyone telling my friends to go to hell.
I love my friends, and because spirituality is such a large part of my life, I get angrier at N.A.R.T.H. then they do. My friends have learned to blow them off, but I’m a slow learner. This group says they’re trying to help. They say they care. They don’t want to see the devil turn my friends into crispy strips of bacon. But I have a sneaking suspicion that N.A.R.T.H. just wants extra star stickers from God.
If I were God — don’t laugh, it’s not that much of a stretch — I’d be more concerned with ethnic Albanians in Kosovo as opposed to Tommy sleeping with Bobby instead of Cindy. And if I were Satan — even less of a stretch — I would be waiting to get my hot little hands on Jean-Paul Akayesu, convicted in the genocide of 500,000 Tutsis in Rwanda, as opposed to Ellen Degeneres.
For all the homosexuals out there who are planning to jump out of the closet on Oct. 11, I wish you luck. The world is slowly waking up, however, there are a lot of religious fanatics out there clinging to old ways. They refuse to take a leap in consciousness, and in the long run, they’re the losers. And perhaps in the even longer run, they’re crispy strips of bacon wrapped in baby bunny sweat shirts.
So put on a party hat and shout, Happy Coming Out Day!

Shannon Scott’s column appears every Thursday.