The only thing that amazes me more than the mind’s ability to hate is the heart’s ability to love.
I grew up in a very rural and isolated area of Kentucky. Racism was open and prevalent as was homophobia. As a young gay man I felt that the only way I could live my life was to move away and that is exactly what I did. I am now an open, out and happy man living and working in Washington, DC.
About 5 years ago I was visiting my family when my brother motioned for me to follow him from my parents living room. I followed him to the bedroom we shared as children. After we entered he closed the door and took a moment to look at me before he spoke “Are you gay?”
For a moment my heart stopped beating in my chest. Although I lived openly in DC back home I was still in the closet. I never lied to my family but we had our own version of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
When my heart started beating again I looked my brother directly in the eye “Yes. Yes I am.” This was the one question I always had promised myself I would never shy away from because if they asked they are ready to know and deal with all that comes with knowing.
He took a moment to gather his thoughts “Is that why you never come home? If it is, I don’t care! I just want you here to be part of my children’s lives!”
I was awestruck. Never in a million years would I think I would ever hear that from my brother. With tears in my eyes I hugged him. We held tight for what seemed like an eternity but in reality was just a few seconds. We broke apart with the promise to talk more later.
To this day I am a part of my niece and nephews life. Safe in knowing that if some day I ever find that man that makes me want to move heaven and earth to be with him, that he will be part of their lives as well.