Today I read an essay about Bishop Paul Moore, who was Bishop of New York for many years. It's quite long, but very good, and I recommend that you read it if you're at all interested in these types of things--or even if you're not. If your eyes are dry by the end, then I'm not sure what planet you're from.
Most powerful to me is not the fact that he was gay and his daughter has told the whole world about it. That's not terribly surprising, though I do commend her bravery.
What affects me is that I have known this man. Not Bishop Moore himself, but men like him.
Priests, monks, judges, doctors, lawyers, accountants, politicians...I have known them all. (No, not biblically, get your mind out of the gutter just this once, even if I can't.) They are all amazing men who exert influence over the world more strongly than your average guy. They make things happen. They heal. They give. They walk through the world surrounded by a n irresistible sphere of influence.
For the most part, these men use their power for good.
And yet they lived their lives in secret.
I have felt, all my life, that being out and proud--being all of who I am on all occasions--is critical to my mental health. Sure, I omit certain details on certain occasions. The biggest exceptions are my grandparents and my job, though the latter is arguably a simple matter of professionalism, as I'm not closeted, I just tone the personality down a lot.
These special men probably went further in society than I could because they hid their sexuality. In the process they attained positions where their unique ability to inspire was felt widely. They changed the world, if only just a little.
I'm not sure what my point is, if there is one. As I grow older and more of my dear friends leave this world, I grow less and less sure how to honor a life. I do, however, know for sure that these lives need to be honored and respected.
I did not get anything I have because of, or even mostly thanks to, my own merit.