By Jason Menard
How am I not gay?
Seriously. I mean, I’ve dressed up as a woman TWICE in my life: once in my mid-20s on Hallowe’en and once, way back when I was 17, and we went to a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Actually, I guess I was dressing as a man, who dressed like a woman, but you get the point.
Not to mention that, but I also watched Monty Python AND The Kids in the Hall – both shows that prominently featured male actors donning drag. And don’t even get me started on Bosom Buddies…
And to think that not only did I dress up on Hallowe’en as a woman – but I did so with two gay male friends (and, I’m sorry Francisco and Antonio, but I totally rocked the pumps in a way you never could…)
That may come as a shock to some of the parents at King City Public School, an elementary school in the York Region of Toronto, ON. You see, the students of this school came forth and proposed an “Opposite Gender Day” where students would come to school dressed as members of the opposite sex.
This would have been a completely voluntary event. The students said the event might help each sex understand what the other was going through – and, most importantly, they looked at it as a way to have fun. The principal agreed and the day was scheduled.
Some parents got all riled up about it, worried that their children’s fragile gender identities could be changed by a few hours of cross-dressing. They went to the principal, and that was the end of that.
I’m no psychologist and my understanding of the brain’s chemistry can be fuzzy at times, but here’s what I do know – you’re either gay or you’re not. No amount of rouge is going to change your gender identity.
You know how I know that? Because most of my gay friends, at one point in their life, would have given anything not to be gay. But they just couldn’t ignore who they are. Nor should they have to.
A quick scan of my Facebook friends list shows a surprising number of gay males. Surprising to me only because I long stopped classifying them as gay or straight friends. They’re just friends. Good people, all. Many of whom have had a very hard go of it in life.
I have friends who have been forced from their home due to their sexuality; friends who haven’t spoken to a parent in decades because they’ve been shunned; friends who have had to flee their native countries because they were in very real danger of being killed because of who they loved.
Are you telling me that if all it took was for them change who they are would be to throw on a football jersey and a pair of Wranglers they wouldn’t?
Gay is not a disease. Homosexuality is not catching. You are or you aren’t. If you’re gay, you can’t change that fact, even if you wanted to. But you know what can change? Attitudes.
If you’re one of those who believes that something so fundamental as your sexuality can be irrevocably switched just by swapping boxers for panties, then I challenge you to try something else on – a new attitude.
Take off that mental cowl that shields you from seeing beyond who the person in front of you is sleeping with and replace it with something a little less form-fitting — perhaps a new pair of mental glasses that allow you to see more clearly who these people are. Something that lets you see what this person is like – are they kind-hearted, generous, loving? Are they funny, serious, intelligent?
And if that switch in your mental wardrobe results in a permanent and comprehensive change in your attitudes, then this will be one time where I’ll be more than happy to be wrong.