Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

My son was in utter turmoil.  As a parent, it is difficult to watch your child wrestle with the nuances of life which you can’t control. Instinctively, you want to smooth your child’s feathers and settle their nests. Unfortunately, the public disclosure by  R & B/ Hip Hop sensation Frank Ocean that his first love was a man did not make my list of things to nurture him through. In fact, my immediate response was “so what, who cares; get over it.” But it was easier said than done, because I realized that subconsciously my son was questioning his own masculinity and the perception of his peers if he continued to be a fan and avid listener of Frank Ocean’s music.

I remember watching Set if Off as a teenager. I loved the female gangster “bank robbers with a heart” movie and my favorite character was the no-nonsense lesbian thug played by Queen Latifah. She did a superb job portraying this role, so much so the rumor began to circulate that she was in fact gay. I dismissed the gossip and chalked it up to Queen Latifah being a talented actress whose acting range was so incredible it accomplished what all good acting intended…to make you believe.  16 years later,  Queen Latifah’s sexuality remains a topic of discussion; is she or isn’t she?  With great tact and consistency, she lets her adoring and intrusive public know that she will not share the details of her personal private life; nor should she.

Quite frankly, I am not the pillow or the sheets and have very little interest in what celebrity types do in their bedrooms. It has no basis on whether or not I listen to their music, watch their news commentary or cheer them on in their respective sports.  As a public spectator, I just want you to be good at what you do. In fact, I  want you to be really exceptional. Entertain me, educate and empower me with what you can “do” not who you “do.”  All I truly want, is to be provided with the service that you are getting paid to perform and unless you are a Kardashian your sex life is of non-effect.

But in this current climate of accept me for who I am, our identity is tied to what’s between our legs instead of what is in our hearts, mind or abilities.  There is this frivolous need to proclaim to the world that  “I am gay and proud” and in contrast no similar inclination to declare “I am straight and happy.”

Is it possible, that the degree of bullying would decrease if we teach our children that they are not defined by their sexuality but instead by their humanity? As a result, the notion to be kind to your fellow man would not be a foreign concept. But since we make an issue of sex, sexuality, sexism, and every other variation of the term, our kids feed off the energy and their reactions are generated by the  climates in which they live.

I firmly believe that we should teach tolerance, embrace diversity and celebrate differences. But on the other hand, we should not impose our beliefs, force-feed, broadcast and exploit the intimacies of our personal relationships with our significant others under the guise of civil rights, acceptance or personal freedom. For the same is true for me, a vibrant heterosexual female, committed and devoted to my childhood sweetheart. I could shout from the hilltops the struggles we face, the duress we endure, the injustice we have experienced. But we made a personal choice between “us” free of outside influences. Our love does not need to be validated by public opinion to be relevant. So when it comes to our relationship, if you don’t ask, we don’t tell because frankly… it’s none of your business.


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