There are times when you ... still can’t be who you really are.
There’s a wonderful scene in a play called Tea and Sympathy, where a young man is in a boarding school and he’s obviously gay, or not obviously gay but he knows that he’s gay, and his dorm master’s wife, Deborah Kerr, looking wonderful, is obviously going to seduce him and she slowly unbuttons her sweater in chaste 1940’s, maybe 1950’s film, and the line is, “When you think of this in the future, and you will, be kind.”
And of course he gets married and he is not in fact gay, he was just willowy, we think.
But there is a wonderful scene where a buddy of his takes him into the gym and is going to teach him how to walk like a man. I had, in fact, a similar experience when I was in boarding school with a friend who was a star athlete and he was an upper classroom when I was a freshman or sophomore and we both went over in our blazers and our khakis and our school ties and I walked up and down the gym floor with his saying: “No, longer strides!” And, “No, you can’t hold your hands like that!”
And in later life the same thing played out when you were going in for a job interview – that you had to sit in a certain way, you had to cross your legs in a certain way because if you crossed them in the other way the interviewer would know that you were gay and you wouldn’t get the job. And I can remember being in an interview and getting more and more comfortable with the interview and realizing that I had slipped from my right leg being at an angle across the top of my knee into being crossed over my leg – I don’t know; I can’t describe it really – but that I was suddenly sitting in the wrong way and I knew that the interview was over and that they were just being polite to let me keep talking.
You knew, as I was growing up, that for most places it was unacceptable. I know that I have lost jobs because there was a suspicion that I was gay, that I haven’t gotten jobs for the same reason.
And it was interesting when the idea for this interview came up, my first reaction was – Sure I could do that, it would be part of my starting up this group at church and I was more than willing to do it. And that evening I was sitting at home and I suddenly said: “Oooh. In today’s electronic world, it is potentially going to be the story that is going to pop up when someone Googles my name. And there was part of me that said, Oh, yeah, but you’re not going to be applying for any big jobs. You’re retired so ... But there are jobs that I am possibly going to be applying for where it’s conceivable that if somebody Googled my name – and they do that these days in H.R. – that if this story were to come up, I would lose any consideration that I might have had for that position.
So even today when we feel that there is so much that is so open, there are times when you still have to hide and where you still can’t be who you really are.
8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
9:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist with music
10:00 a.m. Parish Forum & Kairos
10:15 a.m. worship.together
Holy Eucharist for families with young children
11:15 a.m. Choral Eucharist
Silent morning meditation is offered at 8:15 a.m. weekdays, in the Mary Chapel.
We would love to have you join us.
This Episcopal church is located in the heart of the historic neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, five blocks west of Germantown Avenue at the corner of St. Martin’s Lane and West Willow Grove Avenue.