My 20th high school class reunion is coming up this summer, and I've been thinking about taking my partner, who's also a guy. We've been together for six years, and I don't see why I shouldn't take him. But he says I should really think about it, because only a couple of my classmates know I'm gay. Therefore, my high school reunion will be doubling as my coming-out party. I told him I didn't care, I still wanted to do it. I'm proud of him, proud of us, and I'd like to show him off. As for the people who will snicker and snarl, screw 'em. I wasn't scared of them back then, and I'm not scared of them now. As you can probably tell, I feel very strongly about this. We should be treated no differently than anyone else.
What do you think? (Not that I care, but my partner wanted me to ask.)
Gay Pride: Luckily, I do care what you think, or else we wouldn't really have the makings of a column here, would we? Not only do I care what you think, I respect what you think. Of course you should bring your partner to your class reunion. You should take him around and introduce him to all your old friends, then sweep him out onto the dance floor, grab him by the lapels and plant a big wet one on his lips. Later, you should grab the microphone from the class president, who will be droning on about how there weren't enough funds to cover the country-club rental fee, and deliver a passionate speech about gay rights while unfurling a rainbow flag that you will then drape yourself in while leading everybody in a chorus of "We Shall Overcome." But before you do any of that, you should do the following: Ask your partner if he wants to go.
You can always tell the spouses at a class reunion. They're the ones standing over by the door, shuffling their feet while trying not to look at their watches again. And why should it be any different? They don't know these people, not even the ones they came with, who've regressed before their eyes into pimply-faced teenagers who think that time Coach Smalley caught them smoking under the bleachers was soooooooo funny, which it was, in a you-had-to-be-there kind of way. But that's just it: They weren't there. They were smoking under their own bleachers, getting caught by their own coaches, creating their own memories with which to bore their spouses to death when their own class reunions rolled around. For spouses, attending a class reunion is like going to the funeral of a stranger - obviously meaningful, but also deadly.
Of course, most spouses haven't been asked to lead a gay pride march while also standing by their man, smiling supportively, and that certainly could add an element of excitement to the proceedings. My only concern, G.P., is that you find out whether your partner is totally up for this. Or is he just doing it because you want it so bad? We all go to our class reunions for our own reasons; I mostly just want to see how much weight everybody's gained. But if you want to turn yours into a referendum on gay rights, go right ahead. You have my blessing. Keep in mind, though, that people don't tend to get as worked up about these things as they used to. I'd hate for you to go to all this trouble and not get the reaction from the crowd. Maybe you should put on some weight, just to be safe.
If you still haven't signed my high school yearbook, write to: MR. RIGHT, ISTHMUS, 101 KING ST., MADISON, WI 53703. OR CALL 251-1206, EXT. 152. OR EMAIL MRRIGHT@ISTHMUS.COM.