Not Forced, But Encouraged

I am gay.


Pay no attention!


My “kind” is common, I swear


I am not forced, but encouraged to stay hidden 


Because sexual orientation is not something of importance when people know you


“Hi, I’m Josh, and I’m gay! Now do you have the notes from last class? Thanks.”


Who I love is not important?


My parents mean well when they say that, I swear


But if who I love is not an important factor of my basic individual identity in which people need to know…


Then why are there those who have died for it? Have hurt for it?


Those who will bully, tease and even kill because of it when they find out?


Why must I refrain from gently introducing someone to my romantic preferences when they tell me that I will make a girl very happy someday?


Because it’s not their business?


Because they won’t be comfortable? 


See, I have an issue (I think) with the term “sexual orientation”


Because the very term itself includes the root word “sex”


And in our society, sex is a big deal


My parents do not fear that I could be targeted for who I love


They are more afraid of the judgment I will receive because of the gender of the person I choose to have sex with


Because our society dubs my “gayness” as my SEXUAL orientation


Not on the orientation of who I choose to romance and share my deepest affections with 


My parents must feel an insistent anxiety and fear for my well-being and treatment from people as close as family


To the point that they still love me and accept me for who I am


But do not speak about it to own my sister yet because she is still learning discretion when she speaks


Because I might not be prepared for everyone’s responses and reactions


Because I am gay


Because when I say I am gay, some people might think of the sexual aspect of my relationship with another man


Instead of thinking about nice dates and a mutual love and respect that we have for each other


Instead of accepting the information as it is and moving on 


Because people might say, “Oh Josh? He’s the gay kid in my class.”


Instead of, “Oh Josh? He’s a really great guy!”


I am hidden behind a curtain that matches the ones in the windows of so many homes around me


And I peek through it every day, encouraged to keep my curtain as it is.


So yes, I am Josh


And I am gay.


But I am also a friendly, talented, intelligent, ambitious young man.


I am a singer


I am a songwriter


I am an Honors student


I am a musician


I am a poet


I am a friend


I am a brother


I am a son


I am a cousin


I am a person



And I just so happen to like guys.

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