I don’t remember it all that well.
Comes in waves, like heat off a desert highway.
It doesn’t feel real. Or like it happened to me.
These are the lies I tell. The lies that have assumed the shape of truth. I’ve tried telling the truth, but have been greeted with skepticism. A furrowed brow. A tilted head. A voice that pitches up or eyes that narrow slightly. All tells of doubt. Doubt of the veracity of my story. A refusal to take my word for it and a need to dig further. For years I feared the digging. Feared what it would mean for me ~ for those implicated ~ for my LGBT brothers and sisters. So I lied.
What are you talking about??? Such conspiracy theories. About me?!?? Please!
But I don’t want to lie anymore. Can’t hide. I came out of one closet only to find myself in another. But a closet is a closet is a closet, and lies are agents of torture. I can no longer bear this burden.
This truth will put me in great peril, but I must tell it, get it on record. Get it out so that it can stop rummaging through my sleep and animating shadows. I have to tell it so that whatever happens, my worst nightmare, can just happen. I need it done. Silencing, even crucifixion, will be less painful.
And I need to know that there’s a record of everything I…we…did. If it turns out we were successful, I want the credit. And if not, then I should shoulder the blame.
The truth is this: I remember everything ~ where I was when I learned of the secret meeting between Alan Turing and Robert Mapplethorpe ~ discovering the contents of Tinky Winky’s purse ~ Dan Savage and the way the black leather-harness-bound Gay Agenda Manifesto felt in my hands when he handed it to me with a surprising formality not visible in his public persona. I remember it all ~ Bayard Rustin, Chaz Bono, Phyllis Lyon ~ and so many, many more. I remember it. Every person. Every awe. Every moment and every breath.
It began when I said, “I do.” He slipped that ring on my finger and…well, until that moment I didn’t know I had been chosen. Didn’t know I was being groomed, until I was groomed. Didn’t know the power that would be bestowed upon me, or what would be required.
Wait…you’re choosing me? What!?? But…..I’m a bottom!!!!!
I felt like William Katt in The Greatest American Hero ~ only I didn’t get my powers from aliens and wasn’t being helped by Robert Culp. Oh, no. My powers came from the Eldergays. And I was being helped by Valerie Perrine. Sort of.
She brought me a message that would make everything clear. But first, it would all be very, very confusing…
My name is Steve Stonewall. By night, I’m a Broadway gypsy. By day, I. Am. Super Faggot.
The fabulous adventure continues…