I don't know why or how you made me gay. I know that a lot of people feel that they were gay coming right out of the womb, but I don't feel that I was. I don't think my parents did anything to make me gay. I don't think I chose to be gay, either. To me it doesn't matter: If I had to choose, I'd choose to be gay.
However you did it, or whatever the reason, thank you. Being gay has been the greatest thing that's ever happened to me. While it's not all of me, it's the piece that I find myself celebrating the most, the piece that I'm the most, dare I say, proud of. It's the singular aspect of my being that most contributes to my being the luckiest man on Earth.
If I weren't gay, I wouldn't be with the greatest partner in the world. Dan is so many things that fulfill my life in powerful ways. He's sweet, generous and fun. At every party, every event, that I attend, I know one thing at the end of the night: I'll always leave with the hottest guy in the room. And every night I get to lie down in bed next to him, with one cat nestled between us and another curled up around my legs.
Being gay has made me better able to build a loving, lasting relationship. Years ago my grandfather told me that my relationship would never be as loving as his marriage to my grandmother because two men can't love each other the way that a straight couple can. Now, a decade later, I think he got it backward. There is a special level of honesty and selflessness between us that I find hard to believe exists in most straight relationships. What we're able to share about our past, present and future, particularly when it comes to sex, brings us closer together than we had ever imagined possible. And yeah, with all due respect to my ex-girlfriend, the blowjobs are way better.
I'm also a better person because I'm gay. Growing up on rural Cape Cod, gays were the weirdos down Route 6 in Provincetown. We only went near them once a year when our Harwich Rough Riders basketball team paid their high school team a visit. I was always a fan in the stands at the games, and I was brutal to those kids. We rained down every slur and stereotype you can think of. Imagine being some straight 15-year-old playing basketball for the gayest town in America and hearing the shit I hollered at them. Man, I was such an asshole.
As I came to terms with my own sexual orientation, my heart opened in a way that just wasn't possible when I was a "straight" guy. I didn't -- I couldn't -- understand what it felt like to be a minority. I'll never fully understand what it is like to grow up black, Asian, female, transgender or a member of any other oppressed group. Being gay has given me the space to listen and empathize with people who are "other" in a way that I hadn't understood before I struggled with coming out and accepting what makes me "different."
Because of that, I get to walk through life with the most colorful people in the world. Some of your believers see Chelsea and West Hollywood as the modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah. OK, maybe they are. They're also a shrine to you, a celebration of the wonders of life that you yourself bestowed upon us. If Amanda Lepore and Billy Francesca aren't angels sent from heaven, here to teach us how to live life to the fullest, then there's no such thing as angels.
Being gay has also given me some purpose. Growing up, I was taught in church that our job in life is to leave this world a better place than how we found it. Opening minds and making life safer for LGBT children just now coming into their own has been a big part of my purpose in this life. Even if it's just wearing my Nike #BeTrue rainbow sneakers to a meeting with a pro sports team, every day I hope in some way to give someone pause.
Finally, gay life is just so damn fun. When I wake up in the morning, I rarely know what the day or the night have in store for me. A game of flag football in the morning with some of the nicest, cutest, and most entertaining guys in the world; a late champagne "brunch" in the early afternoon; a fundraiser for an important charity, hosted by a drag queen, in the evening; and a party that devolves into a scene from Caligula at night. How does it get any better than that?
So thank you, God, for making me gay. My sexual orientation has made my life fuller, more joyous and more complete. I know it's not a gift that you bestow on everyone, and I feel fortunate and grateful that I'm one of the lucky few. When I visit you on the occasion of my death, I'm confident that you'll agree that I made the most of your gift to me.
Follow Cyd Zeigler on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cydzeigler