First off, apparently WordPress isn’t consistent in telling me when coments are left on the blog, so I apologize for the delay.
Okay, you asked. So:
1. What do you think some of the biggest differences are in coming out now versus when you did it 30+ years ago?
2. Since you are a parent, any advice for parents/families of people who are coming out?
3. Is the fabulous piece of art behind the couch yours, and can we get a better shot of it?
1. I think one of the biggest differences is social acceptance. Having been a preacher, AND married, AND having kids, it posed a major mental hurdle for many people when I came out. Preachers aren’t gay. Gays don’t have kids. How can this be possible that you are gay AND have children?
Another factor is that before I came out there was general stigma and demonizing of gays, lesbians, and anyone else who was perceived as different. Then with the AIDS epidemic around the time I was coming out, there was additional animosity, fear, and discomfort among too many people in society, with greater stigma and discrimination toward openly gay or lesbian people.
Among younger people growing up gay, if they can survive the bullying in school, once they get out of school there is a great acceptance. There may still be religious and parental pressure, but I think generally it is much easier to come out now, especially if you come out early and grow up with acceptance among your family and peers.
There ARE exceptions of course — some families were accepting when I was younger, and some today are still not at all. But just the rapid acceptance of same-sex marriage shows an overall acceptance or tolerance in society.
2. Since I’m not the parent of anyone who has come out, I’m not sure I have any advice other than to accept your child for who he or she is, without punishing him/her for not being the child you wanted. I suspect there are very few children who grow up to be exactly what the parent wanted or expected, whether it is their sexual orientation, or career choices, or their choice of partner. I suspect most parents come to some degree of acceptance for their children and prefer to keep a relationship rather than alienate the child for somehow not measuring up.
3. Yes, that is one of mine. I’ve shown it before a few times.
A different image, with brief explanation, is in my Mandala Gallery. I’ve not done any real mandala work in 12-15 years. This was done in colorpencil on black pastel paper.