State of the Union of Human Beings
©2011 Desmond Rutherford. All Rights Reserved

I think it is true to say that, as children, we hear certain stories and then fantasise our own persona as being one of the characters in the narrative. Is there ever an indication of our once or future roles in life, if not those we adopt in childhood? Most often, Prince Charmings and beautiful Princesses don't live up to expectations, but really, beauty and charm are in the eye and mind of the beholder.

I remember saying that I wanted to be a girl, when I was about seven years old. My mother looked at me with some concern, but was sufficiently astute to ask me why. I explained to her that it would mean I wouldn't have to go to war. Was that the only reason I wanted to be a girl? I may never know the answer to that question, but it is only fair to reveal that I remember thinking that, if I was a girl, I wouldn't have to kill someone. I was also fascinated with my mother's high heel shoes, lipstick and jewellery.

Then when I was nine, I saw Disney's Peter Pan. I was obsessed with Peter. I loved his upturned nose, and the way all the 'lost boys' followed him. I concluded that I wanted to stay young forever, like Peter. My mother told me that I would probably change my mind when I got older, and she was right, but I think I would have liked to have stayed 22 years old for a lot longer than that single year. So many men, so little time.

I fell madly in love with Doris day at the ripe old age of nine, the same year the movie Calamity Jane was released with her in the starring role. I had immediately noticed that she has a boyish face resembling Peter Pan with his upturned nose. (It may be well worth seeing Calamity Jane as an adult, and you could be shocked at the number of sexual innuendos in the plot. Indeed, the movie is a first class example of how to get around censorship codes.)

I told my mother, that if I couldn't remain forever young, like Peter Pan, I wanted to grow up to be like Doris Day. My mother just chuckled and told me that I should probably wait until I had grown up before I decided who I wanted to be like. As wise as she was, I don't think she had any idea how much freedom her statement had just given me.

Despite all the clues of my movie inspired fantasies, including adoring singing movie stars who wooed fair maidens, instead of me, along with seeing half-dressed natives surrounding cowboys when they weren’t dancing half-naked around camp fires, or dark skinned cannibals prancing around missionaries in big cooking pots. Even with the fascination of white guys pirouetting in very tight costumes with bulges in ballet movies, not to mention the bulging 'appetites' of fellow students during lunch breaks in my last year of primary school, I never guessed I was gay; until it just seemed to be so right to share my 'lunch' with one of those boys. Later, I discovered that high school lunch breaks were a regular 'smorgasbord' of education.

Still, I was haunted by the spoken horrors of being homosexual. It was wrong; the Bible said so. Society said it was criminal, and could imprison me for it. I might lose my friends and my parents could possibly disown me. My life would be ruined. The thought occurred to me, at the age of fifteen, that I should run away to Denmark to have the operation that could make me a girl. I wondered if Hamlet had pondered on whether his gender should be or not be, the one he wanted. Shakespeare probably decided that Elizabethan England wasn't ready for Hamlet, The Princess of Denmark.

Since the only thing I ever did, in geography class, was to survey the contours of my fellow students' bodies, I didn't know where Denmark was, let alone how I could afford to get there. Anyway by the time I was sixteen I was very happy with my male anatomy and several local Prince Charmings seemed to regard me as a rising young star on the firmament of Adelaide's playing fields.

I finally came to the conclusion that I didn't care what anyone else thought or said, I liked male, I liked being male, and I liked being me, just as I was. I grew to like email.

Maybe it was easier back then, because 'everything' was against the law. If we were aware of our feelings, though not all of us were, we could accept or deny what we felt. Either way, we had to hide ourselves from nearly everyone. We cruised in stealth mode, and hoped our camouflaged starry eyes were enough to reveal us to each other. I enjoyed being a young man, and even If I wasn't born a star, I was at least able to share my asteroidal rock with other young men looking for a friendly place to be themselves.

I know that not everyone going through the trauma of self discovery will be as content, or lucky as I have been, in accepting that my physical attributes are that part of me which I use to express myself sexually with others. I urge everyone to just let children be whom they are. Do not try to make them into replicas of yourself, or into what you never were but wanted to be, and never, never, never try to make them what someone else tells you they should be; let them be themselves. Grant them the freedom to become who they are; grant this as parents and guardians; grant it with all the love you can give them.

If I have any regret at all, it is that my society, during my formative teenage years, convinced me to believe that I had to label myself as homosexual. They weren't wrong, but neither were they correct, in as much that they caused me to believe that being gay meant I could never love a woman enough to sire a child myself. I know now that I could have. I have learned that women and men do make love, regardless of their orientation, and do have children. The desire to reproduce is deep in all of us. Cultural expectations, whether religious or societal, can freeze us from all we could become, from procreation; even stopping us from adopting and fostering our young. Ignorance is bred instead, and our human communities are the lesser for that. Intellect is humanity's seed; ignorance its contraceptive.

This concern with marriage between partners, regardless of gender, can lock us into relationships which are not always appropriate for who we are, just the same as labelling oneself as only gay, or straight. We need to know that we have the freedom to be who we are, and we should accept the diversity in ourselves to love whom we will, to marry if we so desire, all without concern for gender.

If joining with someone we love, and who loves us, is the union that makes us happy, and if without them we would be less, miserable, incomplete and torn asunder, then all humanity should rejoice with the gods in the discovery of lovers being devoted to each other. For what is love, if not happiness in the presence of the beloved? Indeed, what is happiness, if not lovers in love?

Those who see this as an agenda will seek to deny love, divide love, and denigrate love.
The real goal, as adults, should be to remain young at heart, and adaptable, so that our lives can evolve into wholesome love of each other, by each other, and for each other. The state of any union must be based on such love, or it will be divorced with greed, jealousy, mistrust, lies, and hatred of the reality of our natural affection for one another.