Chely Wright & Memories of Coming Out in the South

I just finished watching "Wish Me Away" the documentary about country star and lesbian activist Chely Wright. It was an amazing film and I recommend it. It did however bring up a lot of emotions and memories I haven't thought about in a long time.

I grew up in the Bible Belt like Chely. My hometown is small and not diverse in regards to religion. We were mostly Protestant (Methodists & Baptists) with small Catholic & Jewish communities. Of course people recognized that word "homosexual", that negative connotation. That slur. But nobody knew anyone gay.

Watching Chely coming out was almost physically painful. I remember when I came out to my parents. It was horrible, but it wasn't insurmountable in the end. We still talk and we still love each other.

Flashforward 10 years later. I'm a college graduate. I have a job. I'm in love with a wonderful man. I come home to visit my parents and visit my dad's office to say hello to all the folks that work there with him because, well they're family too.

There is one lady I am particularly excited to see, Patty. She has always been a bit of a Black sheep and encouraged me to be myself. She likes Star Trek, used to rock a nose ring and doesn't like the government. I thought we were almas gemelas, except she's not who I thought she was as it turns out. I remember watching her face turn to stone when I explained to her that my "friend" wasn't a friend but my lover, my one, my man, my boo, my everything. She stated that she loved me always and would respect my "lifestyle choice".

I hate that phrase. My brain turned off for the rest of the conversation. I don't remember how I responded. I felt betrayed and angry. It was worse than coming out to my parents, because despite my mother's hysterics I knew that things would be okay. This time however, things would never be the same. I have never spoken to her since. I lost a friend. Sometimes the truth hurts.

I know now that it doesn't matter. I have a plethora of friends and family that are still by my side. They're not judgemental. They are good people. They're good Christians (or Jews, Pagans, Muslims etc) in that they love regardless. I'm very thankful to have them in my life. And my love is stronger.

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