The following is a post by Chelsea Kleven on Central Michigan Life, it’s an important and simple story of how a brother of a gay man discovered that he is an ally. Enjoy and share:
I found out that my older brother was gay by accident.
In high school, I had an “identity book” project, and I was having a hard time coming up with things to write about. I decided to look though my brother’s old project to gain some inspiration. While flipping through it, I came across an entry where he wrote about being gay and struggling with his sexuality.
I vividly remember reading the first few lines, before slamming the book shut, throwing it back into the box and gasping as I left his old room. I think I may have even cried. I did not know what to do, but I kept the secret to myself for more than a week.
Looking back, that is what makes me so disgusted with the situation: I made it all about me. At that time I was already having a pretty big pity-party since this was also the year my parents had decided to separate. Finding out my brother was gay seemed to be the icing on the cake.
I remember walking down the hall at school the next day fighting back tears, feeling like no one could possibly understand how difficult my situation was.
But it didn’t have anything to do with me; it was something my brother was facing, not me.
I worked up the courage to ask my mom about it a few days later and we talked about everything. She told me about how my brother came out to her when he was 13, and how she regretted her reaction.
Pieces of the puzzle I never understood before began to come together. Now my dad’s sudden interest in religion did not seem so unwarranted, and my brother’s urge to move out immediately after graduating made a lot more sense.
It was not until I asked him if it was OK to write this column that I spoke to him about his sexuality directly, and it was via text messages. I had sometimes wished he would talk to me about it, but when I think about it, there’s not really much to talk about. He’s gay, so what?
It’s not an unspoken topic in my family. We all love and accept my brother, but talking about him being gay is still awkward sometimes. I think knowing has actually made my relationship with my brother a lot easier, because it’s easier to understand him and the life he lives.
Through all of this I’ve learned that I should never make the situation about me, though. Playing the “I have a gay brother” card when people say something offensive isn’t the right way to go about it.
I stand up in defense of the gay community because we should all treat each other fairly as human beings, not just because I have a family member who is gay. Being related to a gay person doesn’t mean I have more of a vested interest in gay rights, it just means I have a brother who can lend me all the seasons of “Sex and the City.”