So, in true black man fashion every October 16th since 1996 (the 1st anniversary of the Million Man March), I have taken some time for reflection. Although my life is so interesting (yeah right), I won't bore you with the play-by-play of my 1995 MMM experience. I'll skip right to the juicy parts so all 12 of you can have something to pass your time at work while your surfing the internet on company time.
For starters, I wasn't an open, practicing homosexual; I wasn't DL either. I've known that I was attracted to men all of my life, but didn't acknowledge it until I was 19--one year prior to the MMM. I was also a virgin--completely. I had not known a woman or man carnally or "in the biblical way" as my grandmother so eloquently stated. The MMM became a turning point for me because I promised to myself on October 16, 1995 that I would openly declare to myself, my family, and others that I was gay. Now some of you may ask, "Sayeed, why is this important?", Great question! At this time in my life I was an active church member and considered my relationship with God to be one where my life was to be above reproach. I attended a Pentecostal church that taught "Holiness is unto the Lord, so be ye holy". I would go to church Sunday after Sunday (and Wednesday, and Friday, and other days) to hear a preacher browbeat me for having a sexual attraction to men. In fact, that year I was in an "altar call" and was called out by a man who called himself an Apostle. I was told in front of hundreds of parishioners that I was a "filthy homosexual" and that he was going to cast that "demon" out of me. Me, being the impressionable idiot I was at that time, I believed him, and embarrassed, humiliated, and confused, I let this bastard "lay hands" on me.
When I did nothing to demonstrate that the good "Apostle" ridded me of the evils of my filthy homosexual spirit, he became enraged and told me that I had no faith. I left the altar call, headed to my pew, picked up my bible and left. I went home that night and prayed... and I prayed... and I prayed. Many nights after I prayed and nothing happened. I was still gay and very much attracted to men and I sought guidance from my Pastor's wife. When I informed her that I tried to get rid of the gayness (I can laugh about it now), she took my hand and invited me to lunch. Instead of going to a restaurant, she took me to a hospital. "Strange", I thought. Nonetheless, it was lunch and we were close; I trusted her. She started to talk to me about how God was going to punish me for being gay. She told me "he's gonna let the DEVIL give you AIDS! Is that what you want? Well, is it? " I was silent. She took me by my hand and we walked out of the hospital cafeteria to an elevator which we rode to the ID ward at the hospital. She took me to every hospital room where people were dying of AIDS and made it a point to tell every person that I was gay. This was the final straw for me.
I allowed my blind faith and spirtual ignorance to take a backseat to my true feelings and I blasted her out. I mentioned all of her shortcomings that I purposely overlooked because I didn't want to judge her. I talked about how wretched her children were and how all of her sons had bastard children. I talked about how her daughter was a slut and slept with so many boys in the church and the number of abortions she hid from the congregation. I knew then that I had made my conscience decision to publicly admit to being gay, but I hadn't quite made a choice to live as a gay man. I still could not express my physical attraction to men or my desire to be loved and to love a man. I was also very apprehensive about engaging in sexual intercourse too.
Fast forward to the MMM. *Whew* I had to get out of that because this post is long already! I was in undergrad at the time and traveled to Washington, DC from Atlanta, GA with a bus that was chartered by my college (I'll let you guess which one - *lol*). And then, I met ... HIM. Dayum! There I was trying to concentrate on my reasons for atoning and here I am lusting for the young man who sat infront of me on the bus. I wasn't sure about his sexuality, but I knew I wanted him. I won't get into the lust that was in my heart or on my brain. I was a 20 year old virgin so I'm sure you can imagine how sexually frustrated I was. Not to be distracted, I read my bible, prayed, and tried to take my focus off of this beautiful brother in front of me. Long story-short, we did not sleep together (at least not at the MMM), he was gay (but just as confused as I was), and we focused our energies on the manifest that we recited and the promises we made to ourselves. When we returned to Atlanta we were rejuvenated, hopeful, emotional, and proud. I came out to my immediate family that year. The fallout was pretty mixed, but my family was supportive, affirming, and welcoming.
This is wierd, I was going to write about our collective progresses and victories 12 years after the MMM, but ended up segueing into my coming out story. I guess that's why the MMM will always be a significant turningpoint in my life. Lying to oneself or living a lie is one of the greatest sins to atone for.