Last Sunday, that means yesterday, I went to the Unitarian Church as usual. After being 2 years as “active member” I know many of them. It was nice talk to each other, make some conversation and find old faces after dead Summer time. I realize the only friend I got is my Swedish one, who went to Toronto this weekend and I missed her.
We got an LGBT group at church, who organised a potluck yesterday night and a film screening. I brought some fruits and most of the dishes were vegetarian, thing great for me since I’m in a diet 0 red meat and 10% white meat. I met my lost Summer friend, since she is retired, she’s busier than ever, her partner was with her and we were able to chat, what a nice dinner.The group screened the film “Prayers for Bobby” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prayers_for_Bobby a film, based in a true story, from 2009 made for tv. A film low budget, young actors, cliché script, and Sigourney Weaver’s talent save the film. But that is not the point, I mean, the plot of the movie was the core of my post. It’s the story of a Christian family, the mother who’s totally crazy about religion and his son, who confess his homosexuality and the hell-conflict in the family, the mother, trying to “cure” him with the Bible, Christian crap and the stress and incomprehension of the son, who committed suicide because his mother rejected him, lack of love, and being alone. Does remind you the story of somebody?
Many of us, somehow, somewhere, at some point, we have been Bobby. I’m not a person who cries watching movies. The very first time I cried watching something was “The Elephant Man”, a classic from David Lynch. I thought it was fantasy movie, that the creature was surreal, taken from somebody’s imagination. If we part from the premise, this “creature” almost human, half something else, with deep feelings, gentle, with innocence and purity, caged in a deformed body was the perfect metaphor of being different and in world where majority rules and there’s no room for some other “forms” of “humanity”, humanity created under the terms of who ruled the world. The outsider, the persecuted, the different, fighting to claim in vain for his humanity. I cried when I saw the movie because as gay, I was feeling, and my society made feel I was a kind of Elephant Man. Being gay in those years, in the early 80’s in the third world in Catholic country was hard, no, no, it was horrible, a real hell. The Elephant Man existed…as I exist.
Bobby Griffith, who the movie is inspired from, made me cry not because he was a young gay not accepted in his community or family. It made cry for the conflict he had with his own mother, with the rest of his family was ok, but her….her was his Calvary and reason to take the drastic decision to die. The mother pushed to go to therapy (to get fixed), to do “man” activities, she tries to do “Bible brain wash” to “help him” and the mothers cites the passages of Bible where have sex with other men is an abomination.To be honest, I used to read those passages too. All that stuff reminded my own mother. Bob’s mom rejected him in the movie, my own mother said the life I chose was disgusting and some other things that she wrote in that infamous letter when I did my coming out. Before that event, she never sent any paper or parcel or postcard or whatever, but after my official gay declaration, sporadic nasty letters were arriving at my place. Most of them, just at seeing who was the sender I put them in recycling bin. Her words, had an special power over me.The power to crash me. That letter questioned myself for the very and last time about my homosexuality. I decided, for mental health reasons, not to talk to her. Sometime when I call home is just to talk to Dad, my Mom knows it and never answer the phone. I’m almost 8 years in Canada, we talked few times, for Christmas and birthdays, no more than 2 minutes, 2 long, painful, silent minutes. There is a joke during the 80’s about the Communism, it says…”The Communist Party leader go to a school, choose an little boy and asks him “who’s your father” the kid “the Communist Party” “who’s your mother” the kid replies “the Revolution” and finally he asks “what do you want to be when you grow up?” And the kid answers…..”orphan!!”. I think being orphan in those conditions are suitable and healthy.
Bobby ended his life jumping from a bridge, a truck killed instantly. I don’t know who many times, since my adolescence, thought what would be a simple and effective way to die. Life was too hard when I was teenager back in those days in Peru. My crazy Catholic mother, the religion, the dogma…few good friends, it was just unbearable. University days were better but still lonely times. Moving to Canada, cultural shock and break up with ex crazy bitch was another hit. Just some friends who I have abroad, who lived alone in other countries, with my Peruvian background can understand that living alone, living with problems, heavy, simple or whatever looks like, is horrible when you live them alone.
Nobody can understand that pain. I understood clearly Bobby’s conflict. I cried during the screening….I was saying to myself…”come on, the actors are bad, the script cliché, you should complain about the quality of the film” instead, Weaver’s outstanding performance reminded my own mother…I think I cried more for that…
I’m orphan….glad to have no mother.
‘Tis true my form is something odd,
But blaming me is blaming God;
Could I create myself anew
I would not fail in pleasing you.
If I could reach from pole to pole
Or grasp the ocean with a span,
I would be measured by the soul;
The mind’s the standard of the man.