I am sorry about this break -- once again very heavy demands on my time are not leaving me enough space or energy to keep this blog up to date with my thoughts and ideas.
The usual daily postings will be resumed as soon as possible. I am, fortunately, managing to keep up regular visits to all my favourite blogs, and making the odd (!) comment here or there.
Don't forget to check out Chig's
brilliant Top 50 Number 1s countdown - and all the other rich pickings on his blog... and if you want to be guaranteed of a good read, check out Bboyblues
, Swish Cottage
, Naked Blog
and Urban Nomad
- or any of the blogs on my sidebar!
A Heart-warming Story
(and Coming out to Parents: Part 3)
There's a feature in yesterday's Sunday Times Magazine
about Kay Mellor, who has become an actress and TV scriptwriter (though I confess to never having heard of her before). Now 49, she grew up on a council estate in Leeds
(a grim start in life). At sixteen she met a 17-year old called Anthony, whom she thought tremendously handsome and attractive, and quickly became pregnant by him:
I told Anthony after I'd missed my second period, and he was overjoyed, he thought it was wonderful. Other girls on my estate had got pregnant, but there were never any men involved -- you never saw them again once they found out. But Anthony said "I want to marry you"... And I'm still married to Anthony, incredibly happily married all these years, although it's a complete fluke that it all worked out.
This story makes me feel so happy that I cry. Of course, I'm thinking about Anthony, and what a lovely boy he must have been, what a lovely man he became. Handsome, loving, dependable - against the backdrop of the working class North. That such a romantic fantasy could really exist is a minor miracle, a testament to the strength of human attraction and social love.
The idea that a 17-year old should react with delight to the news of fatherhood is so touching. But it is more than sentimentality, or an imaginative transposition into Kay's place, that makes me feel so much admiration for this boy from the '50s. It reminded me that in the early 1970s one of my own cousins married her first boyfriend when she was 19, having gone out with him since she was 16. They have had some problems (as no doubt Kay and Anthony did) but they have remained happily married.
Could something like that ever happen for gay people? When it does, it will mark anothe huge milestone on the road to emotional and social equality. But right now it seems inconceivable.
It's hard enough (still) for gay teenagers actually to meet one another, in reasonably normal circumstances, to understand intuitively their feelings for one another, and to have the courage and determination to act on them. But then what chance they will endure, without supportive and affirmative social conditions; treated as single by the civil state, employment practices, and everyday custom; and bombarded (as they are sure to be) by the inducements of the gay world to promiscuity, "open relationships" and rapid relationship turn-over.
Kay and Anthony had one huge advantage as they faced their future. It was certainly not the human handcuffs of unplanned offspring. As Kay commented, that was normally all but certain to lead to single unmarried motherhood, and we can confirm that statistically. It was the loving support of their parents.
"You're preganant aren't you. What are you going to do?" my mother asked.
"We're going to get married," Anthony said, and I could see the relief flooding over my mum's face. Suddenly it was all right, because she really liked Anthony... We didn't go away on honeymoon, we just stayed in Anthony's mum's house, in Anthony's bed.
For how many gay 16-year olds, coming out to their parents and wanting to be together like Anthony and Kay, would the response be relief, and a "honeymoon" at home? Or would any parents that helped their gay offspring end up pilloried in the Sun
recently wrote about
the wonderful campaigning parents of gay children, P-FLAG
. But even they, for the most part, came to understand gay things, and protest against inequalities, with the help of their gay children. Very few actually helped those children discover how to live a gay life at the very start of their sexual maturity.
For the most part there was nothing very exotic or romantic about "Here Inside" readers' ideas of Shangri La. They wanted to go where they thought the people were nice, sex was easy to come by, and food enjoyable. Though they were important for some, things like climate, culture, and nature were a long way behind. Religion, political regime and personal freedoms (apart from easy sex) were hardly mentioned. In fact, I was really surprised by what a conservative lot you all are! Only one person chose a country in South America, and another somewhere in Central America. South Africa was the only African country that figured. Nobody chose India, Egypt, Greece, China, Mexico, Turkey, Kenya, Brasil or Bali. Nobody even chose Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Croatia or Switzerland. Anyway, here are the results.
Replies were recieved from bloggers in England, Wales, Scotland, Holland, USA, Hong Kong and Canada. They could not vote for their country of residence. The most popular countries were:
- = Holland, Canada, Australia, Ireland
Other countries that received votes were: Argentina, Costa Rica, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Portugal, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa and Sweden. Two replies from England indicated they would not want to live anywhere else. If numbers of mentions, rather than ranking, had been used to compute the result, the top five places would have been the same except that Spain would have been first and the USA third, and Holland would have dropped out.
gives new meaning to the phrase "to die for". But I was revived by the brilliance of this
-- the most spot-on piece of satire any blog will ever wilt under! (Thank you Dave and Peter). And thanks to Dean
- so now you can all forget about 43 (Contienental) being 9 (UK). Last but not least -- thank you to everyone who has sent in their choices for the Shangri La Project
. There are still a couple of days if you haven't and want to. Results on Saturday