The only two things you could hear were the quick pitter-patter of kids’ size Sketchers and the hushed voices of a line of second graders reverberating through the hallway. I was third from the front of the line, a coveted position right behind the cutest boy in class and in front of my best friend, Averie.
“My favorite color is purple!”
“How do you spell ‘gorilla?’”
We were all whispering with each other, discussing the most inane topics with only a vague idea of what we were talking about.
“I think it’s almost time for recess.”
“My uncle’s gay!”
Once I said that, Averie tapped me on the shoulder.
“I’m not really sure, but I think it just means he loves other boys!”
Like the rest of my peers, I wasn’t really sure what I was talking about. But as I grew older and started learning more about the world, I realized that I was right.
* * *
A lot of people have a “Eureka!” moment in their lives when they realize something — It’s an epiphany. Whether it’s 1 + 1 = 2 or that red and blue make purple, each of us will ultimately have a moment where we put the pieces together and make a realization.
One of the typical expectations of being gay is coming out and telling your friends and family that, hey, you’re not into the opposite gender. For a lot of families, their “Eureka!” moment is learning that their son, daughter, sister or brother is gay. Having been born 10 years after my uncle came out, I was a little late for the announcement.
Jason’s always been a great uncle; he’s into fashion and has an almost-obsession with musicals, like me. We have the same sense of humor and he’s always been willing to help me out. He’s not just a great uncle, but a great guy.
Some say that being gay is unnatural, and that gay love is strange. Politicians lobby against gay marriage and deny gay people their rights. The Westboro Baptist Church says God hates them. I don’t believe in a god, but if I did, I know it wouldn’t be true.
As a kid, I would visit Uncle Jason and his partner, my Uncle Brian’s, house. I would spend my time running around in the background and playing with their pet lizard, Gollum. I would watch movies, play video games. I would see them hug, see them kiss. I would see two people who loved each other. It was never unnatural; it was love.
Seeing loving couples constantly denied their rights has always been confusing to me; why shouldn’t they be able to have the same rights as straight couples? They shouldn’t they be treated any differently. If I want to get married some day, my uncle should be able to get married.
When I was in third grade, all of the girls in my class were in love with the same boy. His name was Evan, and he was perfect. White teeth, Bieber-quality hair and the greenest eyes you could imagine.
For me, my “Eureka!” moment wasn’t realizing what clouds were made of. It wasn’t learning that two half notes make a whole note. It was when I realized that the way I loved Evan was the way Jason loved his partner. My nine-year-old love was short-lasting, but Jason’s wasn’t. It was true, the way love should be.
Since I can remember, I’ve known that being gay isn’t a choice. It’s not a sin; it’s the way you were born. If two people love each other, whether it’s gay love or straight love, it’s not weird. It’s not strange. It’s the most natural thing in the world.
* * *
And now, Jason and Brian have broken up. They’ve both moved on, Jason has a new partner. They moved to Oklahoma for a few years, but Oklahoma City hasn’t exactly proven to be the most gay-friendly city in America, so now they’re moving back. And I couldn’t be more excited to have the chance to be closer to my uncle.
I don’t know whether we’ll spend our time singing along to the “Avenue Q” soundtrack or watching Sci-Fi movies, or playing with his dog Charlie or going furniture shopping. All I know is that I love my uncle, gay or straight, and that I’m proud of the life he’s made for himself.