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A Matter Of Opinion

The Despair of the Closet

Over the weekend, I finished a memoir by E. Lynn Harris, an African American writer who tried to kill himself in 1990, overwhelmed by the burden of being a gay, black man in our society. He hid his homosexuality from his family and many of his friends.

When the Sen. Larry Craig news broke yesterday, I grew angry once more at a society still so backward on this issue. You can’t easily be a gay politician (which Craig, by the way, denies), especially on the national level or a gay movie actor or actress or a gay priest, though Lord knows the Roman Catholic Church would lose a lot of priests if that closet ever truly opened.

This secrecy destroys lives and souls. When will the madness stop?

From Harris’ book:

One night while talking to my Aunt Gee, I mentioned that I was becoming comfortable with spending my life alone since I was gay.
She said something that hurt me deeply.
“Baby, if I had raised you, I don’t think you would have been gay.”
A chill went through my body, and after a few moments of silence, I said, “No, Aunt Gee, you’re wrong. I might have learned to love myself sooner, but I still would have been gay.”

(Harris photo from the author’s official Web site.)


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