Yesterday I had a business lunch with a young friend of mine who happens to be gay. We have known each other for some time, but I was not aware of his sexual preference until recently. What people do in the privacy of their bedrooms is no concern of mine.
After the purpose of our meeting was taken care of we began sharing personal information about our current lives. What made the conversation interesting for me is the 50 year age difference between us. Yet, we have both been dealing with the challenge of seeking recognition for our accomplishments from those we have learned from. I asked if it wasn't enough that he knew in his heart what he has done and his answer was, "no." Possibly age does matter because my answer is now "yes". I no longer need validation.
On another note, I told him that I have very little personal knowledge of gay relationships, which opened the door for him to tell me about his life; what it feels like to be a young gay man in a small town. Because I was not judgmental he felt perfectly safe in talking about his challenges. He seemed grateful to find a sounding board. I was also grateful that he felt comfortable enough to let me in.
Due to the information he honestly shared I now have a better understanding of the subject than I had previously. We also have a much firmer trusting relationship, which is a good thing as it looks as if we will be working together in the near future.
One of my male cousins was gay. I was much to young to know why my mother strongly suggested that my brother and I stay away from him. My daughter later went to school with a male friend who is gay. He was one of the nicest most polite boys in her graduating class and still is.
My only other direct experience was when I was a product demonstrator at Wal-Mart. The product was a new line of greeting cards created by Ellen Degeneres. They were great cards by the way. I could not believe the stupidity of some of the customers who were afraid to even touch them. Until then I had no idea you could catch gay by touching a card.
I really don't know how I feel about the current struggles of gay couples. I don't believe I care to fight for their cause because it has nothing to do with me, but on the other hand I believe there are some very solid issues to fight for.
Yesterday was an enlightening day spent enjoying a delicious lunch, featuring a yummy chicken mandarin bowl, and an educational conversation with a very honest young friend, who will one day set his world on fire with his ideas and enthusiasm.