If you know of art that has been inspired by this trying public process, please let Progressive Alaska know, and I'll post it here. The following is a poem, written by Mel, back when she was realizing how important it was for her to be proud.]
--- by Mel
Letter to a Straight Friend
Why, you ask, so I say that I’m gay?
I must be insecure, and rather unsure
if I always must come out this way.
Well, those straights set me apart
To them, dyke’s just like fart –
something you know but don’t say.
They think we’ll be silenced
’cause oru style it ain’t licensed,
and they’ll point at us, cage us away.
They call me a dyke
and that’s a long hike
from being a real human, we’re told –
but when I say I’m a dyke
with voice loud, like a mike,
they can see on those word’s I ain’t sold.
When I come out this way,
when I say that I’m gay,
I’m confirming their very worst fears…
but they listen to me,
that lezzie loonie,
and I know I got hold of their ears.
A zoo-monkey they fear,
commie pinko queer,
but some words sink in just the same –
when they hear me shout loud
that I’m gay and I’m proud
their insults become a bit lame…
’cause it’s always more fund
to make fun of one
who snivels or squirms at their jokes.
But when I speak with pride,
don’t commit suicide,
they start seeing we ain’t wimpy folks.
What I’m doing is affirming
my past closet-squirming
and my right to come out today –
and when I speak dignified,
self-respect’s magnified –
I’m just being upfront, don’t you say?
You say I’m unsure,
in my self insecure,
’cause I say too much with too much force?
Is it ’cause I unfurled
my self to the world
on my terms — instead of just yours?
[February 12, 1979
Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts]
image from henkimaa flickr photostream