2 min

It’s all in the story

Fuddy duddies should pay attention

I’ve stopped asking for coming out stories. It hit me over lunch with an acquaintance, as she mentioned her first female lover and how easy it all was.

I’d forgotten about those stories, and how important I once thought they were to share. Now I’m a grown-up and I care only for grown up things.

At a Lesbian, Gay, Bi Youth Line fundraising dinner, I sat at a table of old fuddy duddies (I know my friends will forgive me; I include myself) and a lone, very young woman who picked our table out of the blue.

Maybe it’s because we were hidden away in the back, nearest the door. She was crazy shy, and it took a lot to get her to talk to us. Turns out it was her first gay event ever.

She was an international student, far away from home and brought up in a religious household.

She saw an ad, and just bought a ticket and came. I was astounded at her courage. We hooked her up with some young’uns and off she moved, to a table in the limelight at the front of the room. Just like that.

I’ve never seen her again, but I’ll never forget how happy she was when she grabbed her book bag.

There are two lovely men who hang out in the window of the Second Cup at Church and Wellesley every week day, hosting a late afternoon coffee klastch for whoever shows up.

I got a surprise kiss on the cheek for Valentine’s Day, and the loan of a 300-page whodunnit that they’ve patiently stopped asking about, since I still haven’t gotten around to reading it.

They’re extraordinary – always surrounded by a gaggle of guys; teens, seniors and all the in-betweens.

They told me they used to hate Church St – living just a few blocks away, they didn’t like the homosexuals who frequented the area.

They were already a long-time couple, living together and all. But little by little, they came out – to their community. And now they’re helping kids talk through boy problems, gossiping about what’s happening next door and building up an astonishingly diverse group of friends who support each other.

I was 17 when I drummed up the courage to tell my folks one night -during Front Page Challenge, the long-running (but now cancelled) CBC television quiz show.

My parents told me that whatever it was, it could wait until Front Page Challenge was over. It’s only funny in retrospect.

On the way into a pinball parlour a few months ago, a teenaged boy stopped me and said he’d seen me before. I thought he was going to hit me up for spare change, and shooed him away.

Only later did it dawn on me that he’d perhaps seen my picture on this very page, and might have been looking for a squeeze on the shoulder and a referral to a coffee klastch.

I’ll never again tell someone to wait until Front Page Challenge is over. And if I ever see him again, I’ll ask him for his story.

Eleanor Brown is Managing Editor for Xtra.