Arrow-right Camera

A Matter Of Opinion

Tue., Aug. 28, 2007, 9:34 a.m.

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.)

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus
« Back to A Matter Of Opinion

A Matter of Opinion is really a matter of three opinions – those held by the people responsible for the opinion pages of The Spokesman-Review. Check in regularly to find out what they’re up to, what they think and where they differ and to joust with them if you want.