Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A boy's mother learns he's gay, circa 1946

"I have just been talking with Father Putnam," she began in the coldest, most serious voice I think I had ever heard her use. "He has told me awful things—"

Waves of reaction crashed into my brain with howling sounds. I was desperately attempting to gain a purchase as the ground shifted, swayed, opened under me. Aristotle defined that moment in tragedy when the character realizes everything as anagnorisis. The moment, for instance, when Oedipus realizes that he is not the successful king of Thebes so much as he is the murder of his father and the bed partner of his mother, the taboo created by a destiny that mocked his pathetic attempts to escape his fate. This was that moment for me. . . . The jeers of the students, the cruel barbs I could somehow let pass me by. They did not describe for me my condition, my situation. But that cold, precise voice coming from those almost pursed lips: "That your name is written on lavatory walls. That you are doing terrible things. I don't understand what he is talking about." That hit home.
Charles Rowan Beye, My Husband and My Wives: A Gay Man's Odyssey (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012), p. 49

No comments:

Post a Comment