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imageThis is me and my 10 year older uncle, protesting yesterday in Amsterdam against Poetin’s visit. My uncle has been out since he was 18 and as far as my memory goes, he has always been with his boyfriend at family gatherings. For me, he was just another uncle. I know that no one explained to me or my sister that they were gay,  they were just together, as my aunts had husbands and my other uncles had girlfriends or wives. My family is not in the habit of talking about ‘ difficult’ things ‘ anyway. I vividly remember the moment I realised that my uncles were gay. I quess I was already older then 10, standing at the sink in my grandmother’s kitchen, my uncles were also on a visit in her house, I heard them laughing in the living room and then a thought flashed through my head as a lightning bolt: oh, but they are gay! It sounds totally ridiculous now that I only realised at that moment, but on the other hand, no wonder… What I didn’t do, and that’s I think the family culture of avoiding ‘ issues’, I never asked my mum or my uncles anything, nor my older sister. The two men were still my uncles, I just realised now that there was a word for that and nothing changed. It’s only since I got out, seven years ago, that I started talking with them about their life and they talked to me about mine.

I’m not complaining about the upbringing by my mum, she did a great job, accepting my tomboy behaviour, luckily quit trying to get me to wear skirts when I was still very young and let me play with what I wanted. But she never stimulated me to think about things or to question things because she took it all so easy. And it’s great she did, but it’s not a perfect world out there, as I learned later in life. If the world was perfect (my idea of perfect)  you would just take all the diversities as they come. There would be not the norm of one man, one woman. People would lead their lives as they feel they should and every form of love could exist. Men could wear a dress, call themselves a woman if they wanted to, children would grow up with infinite possibilities, because there would be no normative society with strict rules and regulations. But that’s not the case now. We live in a heteronormative dichotimized society, where, if you live an alternative life or look different, you are the one not fitting in. So most people conform themselves and their children will conform themselves and it’s very difficult for a society to change that. That’s why it’s still a big thing for most people to say they’re gay or lesbian and to get out of the closet. As i read somewhere: ‘ who put them in there in the first place! ‘ As long that is still such a big thing, people will stay afraid and conform themselves, because who wants to be happy if you can be normal?

That’s why it is important for me to be out, in every aspect. It’s the reason I choose to look the way I look. It’s the reason I will always talk about things, challenge norms, read books and listen to other peoples stories, open myself up for alternate ways of living, live the life I want. And I do talk to my ‘ little’ nephews about my life and my loves. I try to make them aware of their own thoughts, beliefs and norms and make them question things. Hopefully it will help them choose what makes them happy later in life, not what will make them look ‘ normal’ for the sake of being normal. Whatever that is anyway…

 

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