THE CLOSET IS A NASTY PLACE TO BE and no place for people who just want the right to love

A friend of mine came out of one of many closets recently -- the one regarding me. After a bit of chat like something out of a comedy of errors (not specific to the Shakespeare play) I found out that he was gay, as well as one of my other friends in the same chatroom clique being transsexual. That was certainly an interesting evening -- it didn't change my view of these people very much, but it was sure interesting!

But it left me with a definite anger against the big bad world out there . . . one that, again, I've always known but never thought of very much until recently.

The closet is a dark and scary place. It's where a sibling locked you as a joke, the terror experienced through such young eyes being somehow too real. It's where you put the absolutely awful shirt your auntie Mildew-ah-uhm-Mildred gave you last Christmas.

It's where the family hides away the dirty things, the ugly things, especially when company comes.

Now let's explore the psychology behind the big Family called Society putting all its queer people there, shall we?

Has anyone seen or read Matilda by Roald Dahl? Remember the Chokey? For those of you who haven't experienced this marvelous tale, the Chokey is a closet . . . it's a place big enough for one child, if that one child holds very still and shrinks away from the crooked rusty nails protruding from the door. A mildewed stench permeates the air; it's damp and filthy, and one is always waiting for some sort of insect to creep up one's leg.

The closet doesn't seem to be a nice place, now, does it? Yet that's where we place human beings whose only crime is just loving people of their same gender. Love being the most sacred thing, being the facet of humanity that makes us truly human, and we say what the 'ell, put 'em in there. When "company" comes nobody's gonna have to look. Closet.

I wonder, as well, what is the relation of this to a movie which I've heard about but haven't seen . . . called "Closet Land", the movie is, from what I've heard, about a children's-book author who is brutally tortured by the government for her ideas. And that doesn't sound like much fun, either.

Word associations aside, though, the closet is a place for things you will never use, a place for filth and ugliness, a place for the items we want to forget about . . . it simply isn't the place for people who just want to be themselves without persecution and discrimination!

And then there are the Nancy Drew gays. You know who you are. You don't decide to remain in the closet . . . someone else's rule in your life locks you in and you can't come out. The rate of suicide among homosexual teens is quite high. A lot higher than than the rate among heterosexual teens, which is of course a lot higher than it should be. I’m not saying commiting suicide is bad. I’m saying driving someone to suicide is bad. Bad doesn’t cut it. Terrible, horrible, monstrous, evil, sickening, enraging, just about the worst thing possible.

Because if someone kills themself -- ends their own life -- that means they’ve realized that their life, as it is, is a fate worse than death. And whoever is causing their life to be that way should be considered guilty of torture and murder. Reference here: A Clockwork Orange. (A great movie, go see it.) That, I realize, is the life Nancy Drew gays are forced into. If it’s unknowingly, the case should be treated as accidental manslaughter. And nonphysical cruel and unusual punishment of minors is still cruel and unusual punishment.

Love defines our culture, in many ways . . . it pushes itself into nooks and crannies all over the place. Love and sex, especially. Denying that has become like denying the right to breathe air. And people can’t choose who they love.

This is a plea, to any and every human being out there: Please, don’t deny rights based on the “choices” people don’t voluntarily make. Even if those “choices” were “bad”, which this isn’t.

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Hopefully more than people will be here someday . . . hopefully.