The day given over to gratitude is the most homophilic of the holidays, because the act of expressing thanks is one of the most immanent or self-directed of spiritual acts (just as Christmas, defined by the act of giving, is the most heterophilic of the seasonal celebrations).
In receiving gifts with gratitude, we accept that which is, and we take into our soul Fullness; in giving gifts with generosity, we transform our relations, and we open our soul into Emptiness.
Gratitude is gay. Every act of acceptance opens our soul into the suchness of existence. Every embrace, every enclosure, every praise: all gay, every day, all the time. Every act of thanks reveals the Holy in our midst, specifically the homo-tastic face of Holiness.
Yet the madness of our age is to live in a world scandalized by homophilia, as evidenced by the fear and contempt potentially faced every time a gay person encounters a straight person. In a society still burdened by homophobia, every meeting is a potential coming out; every coming out is a potential wounding.
Ramon Johnson, Gay Life Guide at About.com, suggests some reading material for gays to bring Thanksgiving cheer. Some articles he recommends:
- “Should You Come Out Over Thanksgiving?”
- “Not Going Home For The Holidays?”
- “Holiday Gift Shopping”
How depressing! Today’s stereotypical gay life is defined by (a) the stress of disclosing your identity to loved ones, (b) isolation from family, and (c) consumerism. I suppose there is so much anxiety associated with (a) and (b) that one has to shop to shake it all off.
Linda Villarosa, writing “My Gay Thanksgiving” on The Root, captures the coming out dynamic beautifully as she encounters it around the dinner table:
Still, as I looked at my mother’s face that evening, trying to read the emotion I saw flicker across her brow, I wondered, “Does my mother really accept me for who I am?”
That is the central dilemma that plagues so many of us who are black and LGBT. The closet is a dark and lonely place, and even in the gay pride decade of Wanda Sykes, Adam Lambert, Rachel Maddow, The L Word, Ellen and Portia, Brokeback Mountain and Milk, many of us remain stuck inside. Whether we call it on the down low or undercover, large numbers of us are still sitting in the darkness wondering and worrying, will I still be invited to Thanksgiving if my family, my black family, knows I’m gay?
Linda’s answer (delivered in a response by her mother to the question, “Do you wish I was straight?”) deserves a full reading. As she discovered, there is no greater gift for a homophile than to be accepted for one’s self as a beautiful, perfect image of the divine.
Anthony Robbins once said, “When you are grateful fear disappears and abundance appears.” Remember that being thankful is a variety of gayness, a moment in which the loving inward embrace of the divine arises. This Thanksgiving, be grateful.