Friday, January 6, 2012

Thank you, Kristy McNichol

     When I saw the feed hit twitter, I was excited. I turned to the wife and said, "Kristy McNichol came out publicly." I clicked on the link, saw the picture, and read the story. Cool, she looks content and has been in a relationship for sometime. That's great. I'm happy for her, but I'm more excited that she chose to show us. From what I read, she made a public statement because she's tired of seeing the stories about kids being bullied. There are already those that say it's an attention grabbing opportunity. Good, I hope she gets lots of attention. She's right. The bullying has to stop.
     What I want to address here are the folks saying, "Who did she think she was fooling?” I'm no Kristy McNichol, world famous actress, (even if her star is a bit dated,) but I had to hide for much the same reasons she did. Her career would have tanked way before she simply faded out of the public eye. She would have been, Kristy the gay actress, not simply the kid everyone fell in love with on the screen. Her income would have been devastated even after she was no longer the star she once was. As a public school teacher, I hid that part of my life for one, because it is my personal life and two, because I wouldn’t have been a teacher long if I was out publicly.
     When I started seeing the posts commenting on how everyone knew Kristy was gay and how it wasn’t a surprise, I felt an old wound awaken. When I finally gave over to latent feelings and mysteries that had plagued me throughout my youth, I fell in love with a woman at 26. Some of my friends were quick to say, “I knew you were gay.” Oh really? You knew something about me that I didn’t know myself. I didn’t know that what I was looking for was a woman. I didn’t know she would be the answer to all my questions. If I didn’t know, then how the hell did you? I wouldn’t recommend this be the first thing you say to a friend that has struggled with telling you their deeply held secret. Maybe you should just say, “Welcome to the family.”
     I was out to friends and family, but not at work. When I quit my job to write fulltime, I could say it out loud for the first time. I am a lesbian. I have a wife, a son, and I am very happy. My God, was that not a moment to remember. I felt like a weight had been lifted and I had been given wings. It makes no difference that most people, including the students, “knew” I was gay. They never heard me say it. They never heard me say, “This is my wife and that’s our son.” They never heard me say, “We’ll be celebrating our 25 anniversary this year.” They never heard me say, “Honey, it’s okay to be gay and it will get better.” But they can hear me now! I'm sure Kristy feels the same way.
     So, yes, I suspected Kristy McNichol was gay. I had the same crush on her that the rest of America had, and looking back, she played a part in the questioning of my own sexuality for years. Kristy and Jodie led the bandwagon of latent sexuality out of my soul. And though it took me 26 years to figure it all out and nearly 50 years before I could just be me all the time, I will always look back on them as the little girls that held my hand while I remained in that dark closet. I know Kristy didn’t make this statement without a lot of soul searching and I’m glad she came to the conclusion that she could remain silent no longer. Each person has her own journey to make out into the world. I for one am grateful that Kristy is making hers. Thank you, Kristy. Welcome to the family.


(And yes, I write under a pen name. I started writing when I was still a teacher and as I've stated, you don't come out in my school district and keep your job.  Anybody can find out my real name. It's on this blog site, on my Facebook page, and if you've met me I probably told you my real name. If you're curious, do some research. It's easy to find.)

3 comments:

  1. Thank you Vicki, beautifully stated and oh so true.

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  2. I had an entire scrapbook devoted to Kristy McNicol, Jodie Foster, and other 70's iconic women (or then, girls). I didn't know I was gay at the time and didn't know what my attraction was to these women, and 'gaydar' hadn't been coined yet.

    I read an article in the early 80's that Kristy was building a house in Big Bear with her 'best friend'. By then I had fallen in and out of love with several girls (and women) and knew that I was gay... and knew Kristy was gay as well.

    I felt sad for her in the 90's, she was having so many psychiatric problems, which I equated to stuffing her huge life into a small closet.

    So many wonderful men and women are stuck in neutral (or reverse) while Ellen, Rosie, Elton and many famous others had the courage to move gayly forward and take the risk. Of course, they didn't do it in the 70's, nor 80's.

    As I turn 50 this year, along with Kristy and Jodie, I am grateful that I came out in high school. It wasn't easy, I lost many friends and teachers scrutinized my work more closely, but I was out. There were no rainbow stickers to put on my peechee folder, I didn't know what the pink or black triangles meant, there was no GLBT center to chat with other queer kids. I knew one thing, I loved girls and nothing was going to change that, ever.

    Oh yeah, Kristy... thank you Kristy for FINALLY telling us what we already knew. We loved you then, we love you now and hope you are at peace with your life and yourself.

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