The Gay Tiger
by Dale S. Hankins
I am gay. I am bi. I am hetero. I am me. I claim the right to use my sex as I see fit. I claim the right to be kind in the face of anyone's hatred of me. I claim the right to consider others feelings without being ruled by them. I claim the right to be free.
Others may restrict my actions, may take from me my freedom, may take from me the breath I now breathe. They cannot take my passion. They cannot take away my thoughts. They cannot take my imagination without killing the mind where it lives. And then what? They will be staring at my death. I will be here no longer. I will be free while they remain waiting for their wolves to tear the flesh from their bones.
Some say my hopes are but illusion. Perhaps that is true. Very well, then. I will elucidate the illusion. I will inhabit the dream. Follow me. Step outside. I am the girl, and the boy. I am the original dance between the two.
Always it has been so. Always. Always. I was caught between in the to and fro of sex before I was born, before I could see. I have no choice but to accept it. I must also accept the gift of talent given to me. To refuse the cups offered me is to die. I will sip and become both man and woman. I will believe what some have said – that I write with great beauty, that my art is inspiring, that it can be wonderful to be near me. I have turned away from these thoughts in the past, turned away from them, not wanting to harm or hurt anyone with the light some said they saw in my eyes, not wanting to see either jealousy or competition arise.But what if the wings themselves are ilusion? Doubt within doubt surrounds me.
Some friends will hate me for making the changes I need to make. Many who are not friends already hate me simply for being who I am. I fear their hatred, but what am I to do? Shall I continue trying to be who they would have me be? Or, will I stand away from them as I grow new wings?
Why is there this pulling in my heart? Why is there this longing for being something I have never been? Silly questions these. These are the times when I must choose. I live and try something new, or I die.
I try to put the bi-sexual nature of me out of my mind. I put it on a shelf and stop thinking about it, just as I did for years, ever since I was teased for singing and for liking the color purple. But it will not stay put anymore.
At times I hate myself for even thinking of having sex. I am horribly embarrassed to bring it up in conversation, hiding my shyness with false bravado. Please save me from this. Please. Please.
I would pray, but there is no one there. And, if the God of the people of the book is there, he hates me for being who I am. I hope that life will find a path for me through this vale of tears. But, if it cannot, I will kiss the final breath that gives me release from the pain of feeling hated and ashamed for existing. Life is precious. Life is beautiful. I would keep it if I am able. But I cannot keep it unless I find a way to live honestly as who I am.
Others already are angry and upset with my behavior. I am feeling and being scandalous in their eyes. In mine, I simply am trying to survive. Take all of my money. Take all of my possessions. Take my life, if you must, but recognize I am just trying to find a way to live.
A year or more ago I wrote of a dream that I would find a people who accepted me and took me in. I wrote it looking out at the sun, coming up over the meadow that I no longer have the right to see. The sun filled me with hope that my dream, my dream, of writing for my life and finding beauty there would come true; that I would find a people that fully accepted me and loved me. The writing frightened me. I put it away and I can no longer find it. It saddens me that this is so.
Never mind. Never, never mind. I will stand again. I stand and sing these pages this morning.
When I share this with someone, they will caution me to moderate the heart that beats wildly within me. I will try to oblidge. I will fail. The tiger is unleashed. He will be caged no longer. His stripes will be seen, or he will tear apart me and my world.