By C. Michael Henderson
I wake up, every morning, 13 years after “coming out” and there are still days I am not comfortable in my own skin. It isn’t because I am ashamed or embarrassed of being gay; I embraced my sexuality, years ago. The challenge I face every day, as a gay man, is finding my place in the gay community. Being a gay man, is only part of who I am. One part of the trichotomy, fashions the bulk of my identity. I am a gay man, I have a disability and I identity as a Christian [though very liberal in my spiritual beliefs, which in itself, is a challenge, but that is for another time].
You see, if I were just a gay man, I might fare well within the community of gay men, I’m not bad to look at, I have personality, good taste in wine, clothes, and music, and a plump booty that turns heads. The qualities that make up a decent gay man. So what’s the problem? Oh yeah, I have a disability and my spiritual life is important to me. The two identities that haven’t seemed to mesh well with the whole gay man identity. At least in my experience, I have found it difficult to find a place in gay culture, where I am embraced as a minority within a community of minorities.
Sure, it’s 2018, and sure in gay marriage is legal, but let’s face it; there are still too many people who look at gay men as faggots, who are just disgusting. They gay community, still has many fights to face and is still fighting to survive in a straight man’s America (or even world). I make this point, because as a gay man, I want to ban together with other gay men, and find ownership in society. I have yet to feel completely welcomed by my community, because I am not seen the majority in the community as an equal, because I have this thing called Cerebral Palsy. The details of my disability aren’t important to my point. Simply put, I walk different and sometimes, people stare. You might be asking yourself, why would this be a problem? Well, think for a moment. What kind of men do you swoon after? I’m pretty sure, they aren’t men who have scrawny legs, who walk like one of the dinosaurs you see in Jurassic Park. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but you get the idea. I do not fit the stereotypical mold of the sexy gay man we have all dreamed about, ever since we saw Queer as Folk.
A gay man, with a funny walk, who also goes to church! Yeah, I’m an enigma. You see, I struggled with being gay, and being a Christian. I tried for years to change [surprise, it didn’t work]. Instead, I took time to find myself and resolution between myself, my relationship with [my] God. Believe me, I myself, had a difficult time understanding, why God would give me the gay thing, and a disability. Like everyone else, I am just gay looking for another gay, to make coffee with, workout with, even if I look funny doing it (just use your imagination), buy neckties with, and dress like a power couple, who has secret kinks in the bedroom (oh come on, we all do). Except I have to explain to every guy I meet “See I have Cerebral Palsy, and I need tell you about that, oh and by the way, we can go to the club Friday night, but I prefer my Saturdays to be a bit lowkey, so I can go to church on Sunday, want to come?”
Sure, I’ve had successful relationships, but not without effort of proving myself, my abilities, or finding someone who at least respected my spirituality, but I promise, in the age of Grindr, Tinder, Bumble, or whatever new app will soon exist, explaining Me, has always been an interesting conversation, and oftentimes with gay men, a very short conversation. Still, I am a gay man, with cerebral palsy, and I am a Christian. None of these parts of me will ever go away, hopefully the challenge of feeling welcomed into the gay community, or even finding the man, who sticks around, regardless of who I am, will get better, because the skin I wear, isn’t one I can take off. I’m a Christian who loves men, and just to add some flash, I have a sassy walk, and it’s not only because I’m a flammer… wink.