Those who have read my blog (and between the lines) probably realize that I am a lesbian – big deal. That hardly defines who I am, but my life partner certainly defines my chosen family. So, on “National Coming Out Day” just to be sure anyone who reads the blog knows, I am happily partnered to another woman, and we would be married for the past 20 years if it were legal in the United States.
Why spend time on a weight-loss blog discussing my sexuality? Several reasons. First, I am distressed about the teen suicides resulting from bullying and want parents to know that it is beyond OK for their kids and relatives to be gay, and it is far from acceptable to tolerate bullying. It is also beyond difficult to grow up gay. I spent years struggling with my sexuality, especially as the daughter of an evangelical minister, and then entering a profession (medicine) that did not look kindly on gay physician’s in the late 70’s. I did not come out publicly while actively seeing patients. I hid – from my family, my friends, my colleagues, myself.
Second, I think hiding had much to do with gaining weight (100 pounds!) during my residency, which is when I admitted to myself that I was gay. Did you know lesbians are 2-3 times more likely to be obese than straight women? This might be a generational phenomenon as homosexuality becomes less of a stigma, but given that gay kids are killing themselves and gays are brutalized for just for being gay, it’s still a stigma.
Third, I want to remind people that gay folks just want to be treated like anyone else – like any other American human. We want to be loved and respected for who we are – not because of our sexuality or in spite of it, but because we are humans in need of connection. We are your neighbors, your teachers, your housekeepers, your lawyers, your doctors, your congressmen, your clergy, your children.
If you do anything today, help to stop bullying of kids – bullying for any reason. Teach your children well.