Norm Kent

Squalls & Sunsets: Have the Strength of a Penguin

Filed By Norm Kent | January 11, 2012 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: born this way, LGBT equality, LGBT rights, ride the wave, self-hating homosexual, strong as a penguin

Playing darts at a local bar in South Florida, I overheard a common lamentation from a self-hating homosexual, and I hate self-hating homosexuals.

penguins-1.jpg"Do you think I would ever choose this lifestyle - exposing myself to ridicule, exclusion and hurt all these years? I would much rather be a happily married heterosexual with children," he said, moments before consuming his fifth glass of Heineken in less than an hour.

"This is the kind of guy," I thought, "that I should leave my business card with." My business card reads "Norm Kent, Nite Life Law...criminal defense for the bust you never thought would happen to you."

Everyone thinks the grass is greener on the other side. Actually, it is if you have dual residencies like I do, and one is across from a medical marijuana dispensary in the Castro District of San Francisco. Still, gays need to get over 'being gay'. We need to just be ourselves, and we don't need a label for that.

Don't judge heterosexual lives by their two car garages. The bed can be bumpy on both sides of the fence. As an attorney, I have been to domestic violence court enough to know. While gay activists are fighting in courts with legislators to grant the homosexual community marital rights, breeders are getting divorced more often than they are getting married.

My client Al Goldstein, the once world-renowned publisher of Screw Magazine, who has been married four times, and pilloried by ex-wives for his wealth, once editorialized that "You faggots are out of your minds to even consider same sex-marriage. Just go get laid." Al Goldstein exemplified hedonism at its best. Too much of anything was not enough. Self-indulgence was his calling card.

Woody Allen once wrote that sex without love is meaningless, but as meaningless experiences go, "It is one of the best." What Al Goldstein and Woody Allen both did not understand, though, is that being gay is not just about being laid. That may be hard to understand for those of you who live your lives on Grindr and Manhunt, but gay life is more than just your sex life. What you do in the daytime with your clothes on matters just as much as who you do in the night time with your clothes off. We are more than Fire Island. We now have fire in our hearts.

The columns I write and the life I lead evolves out of the premise that straight or gay, we are all born equal, but one day, just like the penguins we have watched on the National Geographic channel, we are going to have to wade into the cold waters of the sea all alone. In life, you must leave the sureness of the shore.

There will always be threatening squalls and sparkling sunsets. A smooth sea does not make for a good sailor. Those who succeed in life often weather storms that make the sunshine more inviting. In the muddle and middle of every difficulty, the strong soul will find an island of creativity and opportunity. In truth, because so many gay men and women have been unjustifiably ostracized solely because of who and what they are, then gay men and women should be the stronger for it.

Given the way our gay "lifestyle" has been demeaned over the years, we should be made of iron by now. The weakest animals in the back of the pack of antelopes get eaten by the lions and tigers. The strongest and fleetest survive. The weakest have been eaten off. After years of ridicule, we gays should be men of steel, Hulks, Supermen, and Wonder Women. Heck, we have all been to Fantasy Fest in Key West. Most of us already have the costumes.

So let's kick the lamentations of despair. The next time a mopey friend in a bar lays a rap of self-pity on you, tell him to butch up. I don't want to hear how tough it was 'being born this way.' Though we absolutely dress better, a gay person is as capable as any straight person in flying a plane, building a bridge, teaching a class, coaching a team, or finding a cure for cancer. If you lived your life in a closet and beat yourself up, that is your fault. Do not blame society or your surroundings for not having the courage to be as strong as a penguin.

Born that way or not, life is a gift and a garden. Make it grow and blossom. Expand your horizons, not your fears. Don't get trapped within the walls of a ghetto most people spend their lives trying to get out of. We ourselves create the world we live in with each and every choice we make every day.

The LGBT community has not only fought against legal and social discrimination for decades, we have endured alienation and disease; been bullied and belittled. Today, however, is our turn; time to rise against the tide and ride the wave to self-worth and social equality. We have stood naked against the cannon and survived. We are stronger for it.

Born that way? Be proud, and love every minute of it.


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