David Bruce: Gays and Lesbians, Good Deeds

Gays and Lesbians

• Film critic and entertainment journalist Lydia Marcus knew a boy named Robert who was gay and who came out in an interesting way. He didn’t use words, but when he was 14 years old, he visited Lydia’s house while wearing his mother’s big white hat and her pedal-pusher pants. This was enough for both Lydia and her parents to know that he was gay. In the ninth grade, he came out to his classmates. Again, he didn’t use words, but he did go to school wearing a white sweatshirt Flashdance-style, with the low-cut scoop neckline revealing a naked shoulder. This was enough to draw large amounts of attention to him at lunchtime. Lots of people who are aware of homophobia might advise Robert to learn how to run fast, but fortunately he knew how to fight anyone who attempted to harass him, so he didn’t have to learn how to run.

• Education can happen in many ways and in many places, some of them unexpected. When Nirpal Dhaliwal was a young man, one of his friends was a black, militant lesbian. He was and is straight, but he hung out with her, and often they ended up in gay bars, where gay men would hit on him. At first, he thought that he and his friend ended up in gay bars because his friend was comfortable there, but then he realized that she was trying to educate him. He says that he realizes now that his friend had a plan “to queer up the uptight Asian boy and broaden his horizons.” What is Mr. Dhaliwal’s reaction to his friend’s secret plan? He states, “I will always be thankful to her for that.”

• Like heterosexual couples, gay couples have stories about how they got engaged. In 2004, on New Year’s Eve, Amber and Carol were playing Trivial Pursuit with two friends. When the clock struck midnight, Carol knelt and tried to propose — she tried because in the middle of the proposal, Amber yelled, “You’re doing it now? It’s happening now?” Yes, it was happening, and yes, Amber said yes. Amber and Carol share the last name of Dennis after getting married on July 4, 2006.

• The mother of a friend of gay author Frank DeCaro’s wanted to see what a gay bar looked like, so Mr. DeCaro offered to take her to one. For the occasion, she dressed up, wore a blonde wig, and painted her face. A gay man in the bar saw her and asked Mr. DeCaro, “Kid, is that your father?”

Good Deeds

• Ohio State University football coach Woody Hayes visited Vietnam a few times to show football films and talk to soldiers. Once back in the United States, he would telephone (at his own expense) the families of the servicemen he had met or write to them. He once went to a very small firebase in Vietnam, where he projected football movies on a sheet. There he met Parker Jarvis, who had attended Ohio State for a while, but who had not graduated yet. Coach Hayes asked him about his parents, his wife, and any teacher that he wanted to say “hi” to. (Assistant coaches wrote down all the contact information.) Mr. Jarvis says, “Six weeks later, he had called my wife three or four times and talked to my dad for 45 minutes. He called my mom separately and talked to her and called the professor I had talked to him about. That was Woody. He never asked for any adoration or recognition. He was a pretty special fellow.”

• Chana Levine, whose husband was Rabbi Aryeh Levine, did good deeds like her husband did. She took care of her father after he became widowed, but after making sure that he would be well taken care of, she visited her sister, who lived in Israel. Before she left, her father gave her a beautiful necklace that had belonged to his wife, her mother. After Chana had arrived in Israel, her sister asked what had happened to the necklace. Chana realized that her sister valued the necklace, so she said, “I have it; Father gave it to me to give to you.” After Chana died, her husband revealed the good deed she had done.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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