Tales of The Master Race This is the title of a book published some years ago by a friend, Marcie Hershman; a compelling collection of short stories set in Bavaria shortly before we entered WWII.
Growing up in Missouri – famed for compromise and sleight of hand – it was quite clear to me that humans, like animals, all had a designated definition and place. Starting with myself, I had been designated a C student by the teachers at my school. Most of the teachers had taught my ten-years-older sister, but there were two teachers new to the system. They gave me – each one – a B. I found out when we had all left. I said something off-hand about all my C’s and they both looked startled and said they had given me B’s.
I found out from them that the head of the English department had changed my grades – it had happened before! I wish I could say that in that moment all my self-flagellation came to an end – but a crack had been made.
So I would like to say that last week when DOMA was overturned by the Court, my inner freedom was assured. It will take me longer than the 25 day waiting period to achieve inner equality but I hope to reap some other benefits fairly soon!
In my own life, and through no effort of my own, I noticed that I had opportunities not given to all. I noticed that my hair and skin color, my religion, or lack thereof, and my social standing had a lot to do with being pleasing to certain groups of people. That I paid no attention merely got me labeled as a misfit and I was rewarded with books on deportment, weight loss and finding the right man.
What does this have to do with DOMA? “Perception is reality” is a concept I have lived first-hand. When I was married to a man, I was one thing and married to a woman, quite another. I remained the same throughout. Whether an A or B student, graduating Cum Laude or barely passing, being told I was not “college material,” or welcomed to graduate classes – yep, same me.
So, my question for you today is, “When did you first know you were straight? Or gay. And what did you do about it?