Unlike an African American because of their skin color, or an Asian because of their distinctive features, or even an Australian because of their accent, my culture is invisible. When I walk into a room my culture is not, from my appearance, apparent to others. The dialect of my culture is not orally distinctive. For the majority of my life, thus far, my own family was unaware of who I am and what I believe my culture to be. Yet, as secretive as this may seem, I still share my culture with millions of invisible others. We partake in days of celebration, moments of fear, the hatred of a nation, but the love of a community. We are men, women, liberal, conservative, Hispanic, Jewish, black, atheist, Christian, republican, democrat, pro-life, and pro-choice. We live in every neighborhood, in every city, of every country all around the world. I myself am white, female and English (with some German flair that I get from my stepfather). I have values, dreams, convictions, and disappointments all my own, as does each person within this culture. The only common denominator shared between everyone in my culture is that we are all GAY.
My high school was newly built school and had every modem accessory available. The school had an auditorium large enough to front a Broadway play and a swimming pool grand enough for the summer Olympics. What it lacked was diversity. My graduating class of 1988 had one African American and one Asian. That's it. No Hispanics or Native Americans. But, my sophomore year I discovered that within the walls of our school existed several "invisible others."
Our school had a news crew that investigated stories and then brought them to the student body every week. One afternoon while I was watching the news show during 5th period, someone said to me, "You know she's gay." I must have looked perplexed as I responded with "Gay?" They said, "The anchor girl," motioning to the monitor, "You know, she likes girls." I could not move. I was completely numb. The words continued to spiral through by brain. She's gay. And it was if at that moment a choir of angels broke into song. Hallelujah!!! I was elated. I suddenly felt a connection to a complete stranger, but somehow more familiar to me than anyone I had ever known. Now mind you my excitement stems from the fact that I was a sophomore who was disinterested in boys, but longed to experience a first real kiss and feel a roller coaster run through your stomach as you think about someone special. All these things my friends expressed to me, through their own experiences, with passion and excitement. I never believed I would fall in love.
Now I am telling you all this and can remember it so clearly because it was at that moment that my true culture began. I immersed myself in the understanding of what it meant to be "gay". I discovered that throughout history homosexuality has been defined from a variety of "professional opinions" to uneducated guesses. Over the last...