I have never really referred to my voice as "gay."
I may have thought it was a little nasal or high-pitched or possibly grating at times. I also may have thought of my voice as -- how you say -- frequent, because, as my friends will attest, I like to talk (and overuse ellipses... and take tangents... and sing a lot). Which brings me to what strangers may say about this voice of mine, referring to it as pretty or loud or boring. But... gay? A "gay voice"? What is that, anyway?
I mean, I am gay, and lemme tell you, to be able to say that, let alone type it and send it out into the esteemed Huffington Post blogosphere, has taken this small-town kid years of self-examination, talk, prayer, therapy and, well, balls (the likes of which I only wish I could have summoned sooner).
So why didn't I? OK, sure, maybe I was a wimp. Maybe I grew up in a time when, being in Ohio, a child of the 80s, and raised firmly in the Methodist faith, there wasn't a lot of room for the whole "I am gay" moment. Of course, I do believe that my path was my path, and that I wouldn't be the person I am today if it weren't for the journey I have taken and blah, blah, blah, but why did it take turning 33 and getting cast in a Broadway show about hippies fighting against the establishment and singing for love and freedom to find the courage to totally accept myself and find my own "gay voice"?
Honestly, I don't know. And as I watch men and women these days coming out loud and proud at a younger age than I ever could have, I find myself envious, almost wishing I could rewind time and whisper to my 17-year-old self, "Hey Gav... you're gonna be a great man. Just be him NOW."
But that's magical thinking, and I know that for every rainbow-flag-toting teenager there are probably tens of thousands of others hiding in the closet, begging for someone to see them... to save them. THAT is what makes me, with my nasal, grating, overly chatty, possibly boring but always fabulous "gay voice," want to shout and sing and talk more and more and more.
I am honored to be part of this site with such incredible and inspiring people. I'm excited to read all the upcoming entries in this column, because I think The Huffington Post has, with this blog, created the question AND the answer.
What is a "gay voice," or, better, what is yours, and why aren't you using it?
Talking about sexuality, sexual orientation and understanding how sexual identity factors into all of our thinking is a conversation that I believe everyone should fearlessly enter into. It drives me crazy how "gay issues" so often appear to be just for the gays and are therefore relegated to the outside edges of a newspaper or newscast or even election (except when it is conveniently spun into the hot topic to help mobilize people against us for the sake of "morality" (ahem... youarewelcomeforthoseextrafouryearsmisterbush). I love who I am, but I don't see me and my gay friends as a bunch of homos who should be set apart from the rest. I don't agree with those in our community who think that as gay people we are special and should therefore keep ourselves isolated from certain straight-associated thinking or conventions. If I really am special, I don't need to separate myself to stand out (yet another thing I would say to the pimple-faced, show-choir-obsessed, teenage version of me). I hope the words on this site call to EVERYONE: sexy straights, bi beauties, terrific trannies and, of course, us gorgeous gays.
These voices... our voices, and NOT the whispered gossip of "who is and who isn't" or "oh my god! I always knew they were" or "he/she/that is so gay," must set the real conversation. And then, hopefully someday soon, "I am gay" will not be something someone has to admit but something we will all celebrate.