My little brother goes to the same Catholic High School I had attended. When I went there, the religion classes had drilled into our heads, "gay is evil, immoral, and such sinners will basically be heading to hell without passing 'Go' or collecting $200."
I figured it was a matter of time before my brother learned the same. The thing is, I'm sympathetic. We came from a very sheltered life. So I didn't know anything about gay people when I was in high school except for the few articles about k.d. lang in People Magazine and the scandalous excerpts from "Entertainment Tonight" and "Extra."
Then I'd hear my "friends" (and I use the term loosely) randomly go into gay bashing, "they should stay in the closet where they belong... they don't need to f*cking ruin the St. Patrick's Day parade..."
I, like the dutiful Catholic School Girl I was, would agree.
Heh! If I coulda gotten into a Time Machine at the age of 15! I'd have passed out cold from shock at how I turned out.
Anyway, when I graduated from college, my little brother asked me if I was gay. It was the cutest thing ever. He and I were sitting in the back row of my parents' mini-van, going to my post graduation ceremony dinner.
"Hey, Lizzy," my little brother, 12 at the time, whispered. "Is it true that you hang out with gay people?"
I smiled at him. "Are you asking me if I'm gay?"
He nodded his head.
"Yes," I answered. "In fact, I have a girlfriend."
My brother gazed out the window and looked deep in thought.
"Hey," I said. Erik continued to look out the window. "Hey, Erik. Look at me."
He turned and peered at me.
"Does it bother you?" I asked. "You can tell me the truth, I don't mind."
"No," he shook his head. "But I know it makes Mom and Dad mad."
I laughed. "You can ask me any questions you want. I know this all is new and weird to you. But I'm still the same Lizzy I always was, okay?"
He nodded. Then he looked out the window for a little while longer. When we arrived at our destination, which was The Cheesecake Factory, Erik decided he had another question for me as we got out of the car. "Hey, Lizzy," he whispered. "Is it because you have trouble with guys...?"
I remember laughing and trying to explain bisexuality to the poor kid.
Last night my brother saw me on AIM, so he said "hi." Somehow in the course of the conversation it came up that M and I are no longer dating and that I'm into a girl.
"Does that mean you're not straght again?" He asked.
"No," I said. "It means I'm still bi. I told you that a long time ago."
"Yeah," he said. "I don't know. This women seeing women. No offense, but I don't like it. It's immoral. Don't think Mom and Dad made me say that."
I was stunned and surprised that I was actually hurt. I mean, I knew this would eventually happen. But I guess thinking it and seeing it were two different things.
"Fine," I replied. "But I think it's sad that you're forming these opinions based on school and not the real world. When you go off to college, you're going to see that the world is a lot different than what Father Connell and whoever else is over there teaches you."
He said, "lol. You should be a preacher."
"No thanks," I said. "I'd rather just tell my beliefs to those it makes a difference to when I have to. I don't feel like talking to you about this right now. Good night."
I had gotten back from Chicago about 20 min. prior to this conversation. It was bringing me down, so I wanted to end it. I know my brother's only 15 and that it's not necessarily his fault. But still. It hurt.
As I wrote a "good night, I miss you, et al" e-mail to Monica, my brother quickly IM'd me,
then hung up.
EERUGBOY: love ya
EERUGBOY: i be sorry
LizzyErky: love you too
EERUGBOY signed off at 10:34:15 PM
That made me feel a lot better. I have a feeling it's tough for him to believe his sister is as bad as the classes are teaching him. I hope he eventually realizes that being gay is not something that can be helped, that it's merely a part of who some people are, but doesn't define them.
I really miss my "little" brother...