Recently, in my downward spiral of faith and sexuality, I’ve taken to watching long stints of the ‘It Gets Better’ project. If you’ve not heard about the project up until now, then please go and check it out and pledge your support, likewise if you’ve heard about it and have yet to pledge. I would probably go as far to describe the project as revolutionary, and it does help. It really does.
How many of us have looked back and thought about how they’d change something in their past if they had the chance. If they were given that one get-out-of-jail-free card, that one time machine, that one wish… How many of us knew exactly what we’d change? How many of us hold regrets? I think it would safe to say, all of us.
Until very recently I would have openly said I’d change myself to be straight. Whether that meant going back to birth and having the ‘gay gene’ altered, or whether stopping my parents from splitting up so I’d have a more dominant male figure in my life to aspire to be like… Until recently, I’d do it. But not now, for I understand that that would change me in so many more ways. Sure, it would leave me to escape the fear of prejudice and growing up, the anxiety of telling my family and their response, and more importantly the heartache one feels when left in limbo. If I wasn’t gay, thoughts and memories of my first ever relationship wouldn’t plague me purely because it would never have happened. I wouldn’t cry whenever I thought about him, whenever I heard the one song that reminds me of him and us, I wouldn’t have allowed myself to have been so abused and mistreated.
But, if I were straight, would the risk not be there that it would happen then? What would be there to stop my female partner from cheating on me? What would stop her from taking advantage of me? The mere fact that it would be a conventional and ‘normal’ relationship? No, that’s not an assurance. And this just shows how much I’ve grown as a person since leaving the stifling community of my homeland.
Now, the only person in my family that knows about my sexuality is my aunt. I stayed with her recently whilst visiting London and am looking to move in with her and my uncle in the summer before my 2nd year at uni. As she was driving me to the train station on the Sunday morning of my stay, she opened up to me in the car about how upset she was about how even in this modern day I felt fearful to tell people about me and who I am. And it wasn’t so much that she agreed society was like that and I needed to be fearful, but more the fact that society still allows us to feel like that, truthful or not.
My father wants grandchildren. More importantly, he wants grandchildren from me. As his only son and the only boy of my generation I’ll be the one to carry on the family name. It hurts whenever he brings this up, despite me saying that I don’t want kids, because deep down… I do, but have come to the safe conclusion that I can’t have them. That hurts too, somewhat more deeply. It’s not so much a choice that stops me from having children, nor the biology, it’s society itself.
So I can leave him in his reverie of grandchildren and the extension of his family name in his archaic ways for the time being. Just like I can leave the rest of my family to sleep easily, allowing me to toss and turn as I think about it all. Whilst I mourn the dreams of what society deems me unfit for.
Lamentable as it may be, it can change. It can get better. Mourning the dreams, harboring the regrets… these things may not be necessary in time, but in the here and now they are.
It will get better.