Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Being Out at the High School Prom...I Wish

From my column with www.parentsociety.com:

Confession: I was the perfect prom date through high school, at least in the eyes of many parents. After all, I wore a tuxedo nicely, and even had my own that I could wear at a minute’s notice, without need of renting one. (I bought it used for one of the high school choirs I was in.)
  • I was outgoing enough that I was not a stick-in-the-mud when my date and I got to the prom.
  • I was respectful. Parents were glad when I showed up at the door with flowers in hand, a corsage, and they readily took the obligatory picture of my date and I before I opened the door and escorted their daughter to the dance.
  • I was (and am) a good dancer. I’ve always liked to dance.
  • At the end of the night I always went with my friends not to one of their houses for alcoholic beverages, but to Denny’s in downtown Portland, which was open all night long.
  • Usually, by around 1 a.m., I would get my date home. A kiss on the cheek, maybe a peck on the lips, and after being sure my date was back into the house, I would go home.
But that’s where the perfect prom date ended.
You see, falling in bed, I would dream wistfully of all the other hot men that were there that night, sad that we could not dance with each other or go out to Denny’s together. Being a closeted gay young man who danced really well with young women and stuffed his feelings for being with another man was, at that point in my life, my future. I secretly longed for a high school prom in which I could be myself, and dance with the man of my young adolescent dreams.
It was American, middle-class rituals like prom that pushed me deep into the closet and delayed my being out, gay, and in a same-sex partnered relationship. There were simply no safe, accepted, and supportive rituals of the American story that allowed me to be out and gay as a young man. But today there are, and these proms that welcome out lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) youth are helping provide a healthy adolescence for all teens — LGBTQ and straight alike — today.

Read more here: http://www.parentsociety.com/todays-family/same-sex-parents/being-out-and-gay-at-a-high-school-prom/

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