People at work eyed me with varying degrees of suspicion or approbation, and a couple of them mistook me for the kind of guy who knew twelve different ways to tie a scarf and whether that scarf clashed with their purse. My helpful tip that most accessories were just needless expenses met with disappointment.
So he was queer, E.M. Forster. It wasn't his middle name (that would be 'Morgan'), but it was his orientation, his romping pleasure, his half-secret, his romantic passion. In the long-suppressed novel Maurice the title character blurts out his truth, 'I'm an unspeakable of the Oscar Wilde sort.' It must have felt that way when Forster came of sexual age in the last years of the 19th century: seriously risky and dangerously blurt-able. The public cry had caught Wilde, exposed and arrested him, broken him in prison. He was one face of anxiety to Forster; his mother was another. As long as she lived (and they lived together until she died, when he was 66), he couldn't let her know.
I quit eating meat in 1976, the same year I turned fifteen, came out, and went to my first gay rights rally (not in that order). When I say that I 'came out,' I mean that I resolved to never lie about my love for women, never deliberately pass for straight, and never deny a lover by calling her 'him.' To do so, I felt, would be to betray not only the women I desired, but my deepest self.My decision to quit meat was equally simple. Somehow, through the confluence of midseventies influences, I knew that vegetarianism was a particularly healthy way to eat. One day, quite suddenly, I realized: If I didn't need to eat meat to stay alive, then eating meat was killing for pleasure. I couldn't live with myself, wouldn't be the nonviolent person I believed myself to be, if I killed other beings--beings who had their own desires--merely to satisfy my desire for the taste of their flesh.Looking back, I see that both decisions, coming out and quitting meat, are about the interplay of desire and integrity. Sometimes integrity means being true to your desires, and sometimes integrity requires you to refuse your desires. I also notice that both decisions were about bodies and consent. A primary tenet of gay liberation is that what consenting people do with each other's bodies is nobody else's business. And, of course, eating meat is something you do to somebody else's body without their consent.
If you are in the closet and fall in love with someone of the same gender, it doesn't automatically remove the shame and fear that's kept you locked away. The love you are experiencing encourages you to face the reality that this is who you really are and also has the power to set you free. The richness, beauty and depths of love can only be fully experienced in a climate of complete openness, honesty and vulnerability. Love, the most powerful of human emotions, is calling you to freedom and wholeness.
Make no mistake, hiding one's true self away in a closet and creating a facade of heterosexuality is not without its consequences. It may appear to have a degree of safety but from my experience they are very unhealthy places and do all kinds of terrible things to individuals psychologically, emotionally and behaviourally.....to say nothing of projection. The damage of the fear, shame, guilt and self-loathing that exist inside a closet are often reflected unknowingly in the external life of the individual. In or out of the closet; there is a price to pay. Each individual must weigh up the consequences of honesty, openness, secrecy and deception for themselves. Coming out, for most of us, is like an exorcism that releases us of the darkness we have lived in for years and caused us to believe awful things about ourselves. On the other side of the looking glass are freedom, light and life.
Every gay person must come out. As difficult as it is, you must tell your immediate family. You must tell your relatives. You must tell your friends if indeed they are your friends. You must tell the people you work with. You must tell the people in the stores you shop in. Once they realize that we are indeed their children, that we are indeed everywhere, every myth, every lie, every innuendo will be destroyed once and all. And once you do, you will feel so much better