I’ve been following the recent news about Texas sodomy laws and have just been astounded. Seriously, though, isn’t it amazing that this is still an issue? Good Lord… we have certain senators saying that no, he has no problem with homosexuals… the problem is with homosexual acts! Oooooh… that clears it up.

I’d like to think we’ve advanced far enough as a society that sexual preference and practices between consenting adults are no longer issues, but alas, they still are in many states and to many people. “Live and let live” is just too much for some people.

I’m convinced that humans, in general, aren’t happy unless they have something or someone to hate, even if it’s with little or no reason. I remember a time in middle school that I had to write an essay about prejudices. I had a really hard time… everyone else in my class found it so easy to pick out a group to write about, but I had to actually make something up about a group of people and a reason that I felt a prejudice against them. I felt out of place.

That said, I admittedly had an unfriendly attitude towards homosexuals in high school. Throughout my life, I never knew anyone that was outwardly gay. I didn’t feel like I had any bad feelings towards people with different sexual preferences, but when a male from a nearby high school hit on me, a lot of unfamiliar feelings started to pop up.

A friend and I went to a nearby high school to interview for a possible DJing gig for a dance sponsored by the school’s Army ROTC program. A student slightly older than me named Raphael interviewed us. He seemed nice enough and the interview went well. It looked like my friend and I were going to have no problem securing the gig. That night, Raphael called me at home.

The conversation started normally enough. We chatted a bit about the interview, about the types of music to play and such. But a few minutes in, things took a weird turn. “You know,” he said to me. “You’re really attractive.”

A bit confused, I stammered, “Uh… ok. Thanks…?”

“Really. You are. Hey,” Raphael said, “what are you wearing?”

I was getting a bit nervous, but acted confused to cover up my anxiousness. “Huh?”

“Are you naked right now?”

Trying to hide how freaked out I was at the moment, I told him, “Alright… you’re making me really uncomfortable right now. I’m straight, dude.” I really said “dude.”

“Oh, come on. Are you naked?”

“Gotta go,” I said, and hung up. I had to go babysit, but I was a bit flustered, not sure what I was feeling.

We didn’t end up DJing the dance. Raphael never called back, and I didn’t bother to, either. In the months that followed, I told the friend of mine that introduced me to Raphael what had happened. He took it up with Raphael, who denied it. I told my friend that “I don’t want you to do anything to him, I just wanted you to know why we’re not DJing that dance.” But inside, I was angry. Angry with something that was unfamiliar to me, really just because it was unfamiliar. At the time, though, I just said, “I don’t hate gays… but they better not hit on me.” And I used the “f” word a few times, too, always feeling vaguely uncomfortable when I said it.

That was the first (and, I think, only) time that I was hit on by another guy. Honestly, it wouldn’t have been a big deal except it was also my first experience with anyone that was outwardly gay. Since then, I’ve gone to school with, met, and become friends with any number of gay men and women and, thankfully, my outlook has done a 180 versus my original reaction to Raphael. It was because I was unaware that I was angry and afraid. What I went through was no different than what women go through when they’re hit on by a man they have no interest in. But at the time, I didn’t realize that.

It’s been ten years since my encounter with Raphael and looking back, I can’t believe I was that person. I hate the fact that I had hate in my heart because of something as inconsequential as sexual preference. I’m amazed that I somehow thought my rights as a straight person to feel comfortable usurped Raphael’s rights as a gay person to express an attraction to me. It’s all such silly shit we worry about sometimes… and I’m really thankful that time and experience has opened up those areas of my brain that were shut so tightly before. It’s a lot of work to hate… it’s much easier to just let people do their thing.

Perhaps all Representative Santorum needs is some “experience” and some time to process it. Raphael: if you stumble upon this page, you can reach Mr. Santorum at (202) 224-63…