Point being: anyone in my life or on my facebook wall could see what was happening.
The result was a crazy amount of support that came from surprising places - friends of friends who saw my posts after their friends commented on it - old clients, new clients or old friends from past walks in life.
One such friend was Keifer.
I had gone to school with Keifer from K-6th grade when my family moved away to another state. Years later we would reconnect on facebook through other friends and Keifer was never afraid to tell me his opinion... like when we decided to homeschool The Boy, I was pretty open about the decision making process on facebook.
One night Keifer messaged me and told me not to homeschool The Boy, and we had a intense debate about it - what it really came down to for me were my fears about current bullying that was taking place in Kindergarten and what future bullying he would face. Keifer made all the usual points - that we face bullies in all aspects of our lives, we learn how to deal with different people, etc.... .but when I *still* wasn't swayed and I mentioned the bullying *we* experienced he said ..... "Yeah - and I was incredibly lucky that this cute girl with dark hair and blue eyes who look like Snow White was there to help defend me against those bullies..... how different would my experience have been if you weren't there for me?"
Good point..... but it still didn't work. lololol
As time went on, Keifer was *very* supportive when El Capitan left, messaging me and texting me all the time with jokes to make me laugh or asking me how I was... I thought that was very sweet of him. And... when I came out of 37 year closet, Keifer was there to help dust off my cobwebs by sending me as *many* dirty lesbian jokes as he could find. lololol
He was most certainly in my corner 110% and even when other mutual friends would bring it up to him and ask... "how does someone "turn" gay" - Keifer was there patiently explaining that no one "turns" gay - and was more than willing to spend his time discussing my feelings and experiences and explaining things to people - defending me.... of sorts.
As I said....I have awesome friends, huh?
Yup.... I know it and I'm grateful.
Anyhow.... our twenty year reunion was held recently and Keifer found me the topic of a few discussion and so he called me at the end of the weekend. It was cool to hear stories about other people in our class, where they ended up in life, how many kids they have, etc. He was *especially* giddy to tell me about one of the guys from our class whose wife also left him and "bats for the other team now". hahahaha
See.... I'm most certainly not the only one.
Which brought up the discussion of how being "gay" wasn't as "okay" as it now.... Keifer stopped and there was a pause, then he said, "Have I ever told you *why* I'm so supportive of you, as a lesbian and all?"
"Ummm.... nope, I don't think so," I replied.
And so Keifer explained:
In middle school a boy had come to school- after I had moved away - and he was obviously gay. So obvious that he was the kind of kid who got relentlessly picked on for being "different".... which Keifer admitted that they all knew he wasn't *just* different: he was gay.
Keifer said that he had never *really* picked on the kid...but he was there to laugh in the hall or in the classroom when other people did pick on him or bullied him. He said that in all those instances he was just as bad as the kids actually saying things - because he never stood up for the kid.
Then he said, in his "defense" - socially he wasn't taught anything else. Being gay was "weird" and "bad" and "gross" - at least in middle school terms.... we didn't have the awareness for differences back then and we certainly didn't have any understanding or tolerance.
He said that towards the end of 8th grade, out of ignorance and in-line with social acceptance he would make comments to this boy in the locker room like.... "Dude - don't stare at me". - but in the manner that the boy would be doing it in a sexual manner, not because he actually saw him doing it.
Shortly after high school started, that boy stopped coming to school and everyone was saying that the kid had killed himself.
Keifer said, "The second someone told me that this guy had killed himself - I knew, in my gut, that I was one of the reasons he would have done that. All that teasing I never stopped. All the jokes I laughed at. All the rude comments in the locker room... all the times I never stood up for him. I was guilty for causing part of his pain."
Keifer said that that fact put him into his own small depression/funk because he felt like sh*t: he felt horrible. After that he realized that being gay was nothing to kill yourself over and that someone else being gay really didn't affect him, should upset him, shouldn't be something he found "weird" or wrong" and his opinions on gay people changed forever.
He never laughed at someone else's inappropriate joke again.
It changed him for the better, though he never stopped thinking about the boy and what had happened and what he felt *his* role in that boys 'suicide' was.
Then a few years after high school he standing in a Dairy Queen and lo-and-behold.... THAT GUY was there as well. Alive and well. Still *Very* gay.... but standing there in the flesh: not dead.
Keifer was shocked and excited - and he noted his excited shocked the guy who explained his parents had to pull him out because of the bullying and everything.
Keifer spent the rest of his school years and adult life being very pro LGBTQ - so much so that in his kids elementary school there was a transgender boy (this is a little girl who identifies as a "male" and dresses and acts as such) and that Keifers son was literally best friends with this child - having him over for sleep overs and going camping and all the normal stuff boys do with their friends and that this child had the *full* support as a "male" in Keifers family.
What a gift.
What a gift for that transgender child and their family.
One day, our society as a whole will stop bullying each other.... we will learn to value each other not at colors or genders, but as humans - because we should all learn the lesson that Keifer learned as a Freshman in high school: no human should suffer so much socially that they take their own life.
At the same time, it's amazing to see *how much* change has taken place:
When Keifer was in school kids bullied the boy they thought was gay.
Keifers kid, however, is best friends with a transboy.
That's the new normal: tolerance and acceptance.
Amazing..... truly amazing.