“It is so nice to meet you, Randy. If anyone in this neighborhood gives you and Dan any sh*t. You let me know. I am not going to put up with it and will go talk to them. We already think you guys are great neighbors. Not gonna’ let anyone treat you any different than anyone else in the neighborhood. My wife and I are big allies of the gays.”said by Mr. Conductor – nicknamed as such because he has a huge collection of toy trains.
Those are almost verbatim the exact words of my neighbor next door, as stated from over the fence yesterday. I had met Mrs. Conductor before. She is lovely, kind of quiet, handles her weed eater like a ninja. Yesterday, I got to meet her husband. Specifically, I met Mr. Conductor’s wispy hair, eyes, and hands as he peered over the top of the fence around his yard. Our conversation was exactly like Tim Taylor and Mr. Wilson from the once top-rated sitcom Home Improvement (photo).
Mr. Conductor had a LOT to share. All good, but I only went out there because Queen Gigi was barking up a storm at them as Mrs. Conductor worked on repairing part of their fence (she’s a handy one). I am currently working from home, so I left my desk to make sure Queen G wasn’t going to eat a neighborhood kid or something. And I got to meet them and landed in verbal quicksand as apparently, Mr. Conductor has a very high verbal quotient, and his stream of consciousness is more of a flood.
I think he and his wife are fantastic. Especially knowing they have our back and we have theirs. We exchanged numbers and offered invites to hang out and see all his toy trains that run all over their house.
I am choosing to describe that living in a toy train museum is eccentric….not weird… eccentric.
The takeaway for me was mostly that we have cool and interesting neighbors to the east of us. But I was also struck by the fact that I started out clueless when he started saying what I quoted above. Like, why would anyone give us sh*t? Right before he got to the part about being allies, it dawned in my tiny little mind, “OH, he is saying this because we are gay…”
It’s another moment where being gay isn’t at the forefront of my mind with every conversation. In fact, it is never my default to think of Dan and me as a gay couple. We are a couple, and gay is a descriptor we are proud of, but … I just talk about life with others as a peer, not a person with an agenda. Like, I never talk about Dan and our little family with the idea that “the gay thing” may be an issue for other people. I know it is for some, but talk about him and our family just like any husband (to be) would.
I know, big deal, right? It is for me. Back in the stained glass closet, I thought gay people were forcing an agenda by gaily talking about their gay lives all the gay time. They didn’t even have to mention being gay before my “gay agenda” alarm bells would go off. An example would be that if a man talked about his husband, our crowds always assumed that he was trying to offend and force acceptance of the “gay agenda.” Nope. He was simply sharing his life, love, hopes, experiences, and dreams. Instead of being suspicious of his motives, we should have been honored he wanted to share with us those details. I have long since learned that I was the one with the agenda filter, not the gay or gay-affirming person in front of me.
The flip side of that “it’s always a gay agenda” myth was expressed when I first came back out. I was all gay all day, every gay day in all the gay ways because that is what I thought I was supposed to do.
I still talk about LGBTQ+ stuff quite a bit and consider myself an advocate for ending conversion therapy and its “pastoral” form of exgay ministry. Yet, it isn’t my default to make being gay an omnipresent and spoken modifier that has to be stated in every instance of my journey(s) as a spiritual person, a partner, a fairy godmother :), etc.
I like that; it feels like a step toward deeper maturity (for me). Wish I had learned all this in my twenties. 🙂
Let’s have the courage to be ourselves, together,