I sometimes forget I am gay. Not that my orientation momentarily fades or I have some sort of weird ex-gay flashback. Rather I live my life, a guy who is married to another guy, and I don’t think about it. I am a Quaker, a comic, a gardener, a Bible scholar, a swimmer, and a citizen of a little town in rural Central Pennsylvania. Oh, and I am gay. It used to be a big deal. Not so much anymore.
These days with so much marriage equality going around in US States (I really can’t keep up with the current tally of places where I am legal to marry the man I love.) the battle for “gay rights” can seem beside the point. Instead we see an intensification of a battle for transgender rights in the US and Canada. Opponents to trans inclusion and rights–perhaps revealing exactly where their heads are at–have decided to bring that battle into the toilet (prompting a creative queer response.) We are by NO MEANS done with our work for LGBTQ Equality.
But these days I take for granted that I am gay. There is nothing exceptional about it in my mind, but when I walk into certain rooms, it suddenly becomes a big deal. As I hang out with more and more climate change people, so many of whom are white, cis-gender, middle-class, heterosexuals, and delightful people, my gayness stands out. Similarly, I recently did comedy locally as a guest of the Susquehanna Valley Progressives.
They wanted me to talk about climate change, which I did, but with 120 audience members, mostly straight, I suddenly felt very gay and decided to include lots of “gay” content. I did scenes from Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House and Queer 101–Now I Know my gAy,B,Cs. Shoot by the time they were all warmed up I ended with my infmaous Marvin Bloom monologue about Samson and the Dildo (see below)
So I was not terribly surprised when the next day in our paper, The Sunbury Daily Item, there was a favorable reveiw of my performance by Robert Stoneback. My favorite line of the piece is, “Toscano’s humor is not for everyone–he is gay…” Yeah, there’s that.
But the reality is when we stand up to speak, we stand up as ourselves. Even if the topic is a new one for us, the message we share so often grows deeper and richer when we share it as ourselves. I feel grateful I was able to do that in my own community for a change.