An Open Letter to Mike, Cullen, Steve and Kyle.
Facing the events of last Friday and the storm of opinions erupting on facebook I felt compelled to write something too. But I will do it differently. I will do it writing a personal – but – open letter to four gay friends/colleagues I have met and interacted with in my life so far.
The first one of them is Mike. Hi, Mike! How is it going? I haven’t heard much from you for quite some time now! I understand it. You know my points of view about sexual morality and you probably dislike me nowadays. Well, I don’t dislike you. I hope you know this!
We met in school. Although you never came up publicly in those days, people would talk about it. I can only imagine how hard that must have felt. To know that people all around you would gossip about your sexuality and that you would even face some bullying and discrimination.
Did you know that I tried to protect you one time that two girls were trying to pull a nasty joke on you? I overheard them, stood up and gave them my best stinky eye (you know the one! The one that is able to set fire to a green tree) and kept observing them. Looking back, I should have been even more direct.
But did you know that because of that episode I never friendly-talked to those two girls anymore in my life? That they are probably in the 10% of the people I met in school that I don’t count as facebook friends?
Did you know that I never ever gossiped or even talked about your sexuality with anyone? Did you know that I cared for you as a true friend? One that would make me genuinely laugh. I loved to spend time with you! You are one of the brightest people I personally know. I admired you for that!
Do you remember one day at school that we were supposed to choose a friend and tell the rest of the class why you chose that person? I chose you! I did it because I really cared about you. Gay or not, you were a good friend to me. I was supposed – by your request - to construct/design you future house, remember?
After school we lost touch. On facebook we met again. Since then we have exchanged two private message sessions about nothing, the two of them quite spaced in time. I think I started both of these conversations. Not long ago I would still “comment” and “like” on some of your statuses. Then I stopped. I came to the conclusion that you really didn’t want me there, “giving you any kind of hidden messages” or reminding you of “anything”. So thinking of you, of your well-being, of your probable feelings about me, I stopped checking on your updates.
Well, I love you Mike. I hope you know that! If anyone would strike a bullet on you because of your lifestyle, I would freely and willingly jump in front of you so you wouldn’t get hurt. And you better believe that because I mean every word. I hope you still know me enough to realize that I don’t tell lies. Bye Mike.
Dear Cullen, we met in college. You were tall, handsome, very intelligent, good boy and overall one of the most pleasant people to be around with in the whole wide world. On my first semester in college I remember saying playfully to two of my girlfriends that I would marry you someday.
Well, our paths continued to cross on a regular basis and you eventually asked me out. We went out to lunch one day and the other time we went to the mall to talk. Sorry about that night, I think my perfume gave you allergies. Don’t worry, I noticed it and that was the last time I used a Boticario perfume so I wouldn’t asphyxiated any other prospects - or friends, in general. (No jokes intended about the whole Boticario ad. Their perfumes just suck. But I love their lipsticks).
I know I didn’t give you much of a real chance with me. I realized that I actually wasn’t in love with you to give it a try. And since I cared so much about you, I didn’t want to ruin that. I wanted for us to remain friends. Which we eventually did after a time of not talking to each other, naturally.
I actually remember that you made out - twice - with my best friend in that meantime. Yes, the same girl who heard me speaking of you being my future husband and all. Okay, I didn’t blame her for a long period of time. It was wrong of me to actually say that. In the end, I was actually cheering for the two of you to end up together.
One observation, I probably never told you this, but before I met Dan, I've never stayed with a guy for more than a month. I've always had a pretty good idea of my real feelings in the first week of going out with a guy. That was me! I just knew when it wouldn’t work out and the effect of me actually pushing on myself the opposite idea would just make me shut down even more. And that is why I should probably be one of the girls you know that less got into relationships.
My parents liked you a lot, we also had some friends in common outside college and I invited you to my actual wedding. The one I was marrying Dan, my soul mate, and not you. We were cool about it. I tried to introduce you to my beautiful, smart and single friend – Jane – as I thought you were too great to pass to the crowd - and because she asked me to.
I didn’t know that you've already decided to be gay, by then. I only found out you had a long term boyfriend four years after college. After a few months of digesting the information, I decided to write you a private message about the whole me trying to push you a girl. That I didn’t know you were gay. (How could I?) That I have always considered you as a friend. And that being gay didn’t change that.
But I felt that my conscience pushed me to add what you already knew about my personal opinion on sexual morality and that has not changed for me either. That I hoped you could understand that these two things are different for me. I hoped you would understand that I don’t let my beliefs interfere with my idea of someone. And in this case, I still have a very high esteem of you, Cullen.
You are still the same Cullen, tall, handsome, smart and easy to make laugh. You are probably the person who holds the most prestigious job of all my friends and that is all because of you own qualities and attributes. I don’t follow you on Instagram because we are just into different things now. I still have you on facebook and I hope you don’t ever shut me out of your online circles of friends. I wouldn’t want that. Bye Cullen.
Dear Steve! I don’t like you. And that has nothing to do with the fact that we don’t agree on this subject. We actually don’t agree on anything. Not politically, not socially, not religiously, not anything-ly. And you quite annoyed me a couple years ago when you would comment/like on every post of mine. Gay or not, man or woman, I hate that! That is the single thing that I hate the most in the entire world. So sorry about adding you the “restrict friends” category on my facebook, but hopefully you will understand that we can’t be friends. Bye Steve.
And finally, dear Kyle. Sorry if I added you wrongly to this letter. I am not really sure if you are gay or not! And – actually - that doesn’t matter! We have met for a few months at the university and then we lost touch. Before that, I actually helped you around with some things.
Sometime into college, I met you at some party and you were more than happy to introduce me to some of your friends after I asked you to, hoping it would be the “dark haired - blue eyed – future doctor” I used to flirt with on Monday afternoons at the central library. Well, the friend you introduced me wasn’t actually him, so I fled!
I wish everybody could understand that the real deal about legalizing homosexual marriage is not about love. I am all for love, believe me. (I also believe that sexual acts and love are not the same things.) But unfortunately, what is really on the table is: abolishing religious freedom and all that it entitles. I won’t linger on this topic. I could say a thousand words but I will let it be. I don’t want to cause any animosity. But I will be coherent. I will not bend the essential truth to look good to my online friends. I am lucky enough to say that my actions speak by themselves and that being publicly criticized/questioned on social media doesn’t bother me. I wish everybody could say that about themselves. We would have fairer and more honest conversations.