One gay man gives thanks this holiday season for the gifts he gets from an almost completely straight inner circle.
By Michael Chisholm
THE HOLIDAYS ARE SETTLING IN, and it’s the time of year when you reflect on what you’re thankful for. For many people, that means family, friends, health or anything that blesses them with the warm feeling of fulfillment.
I have a laundry list of the people to be thankful for in my life. Like so many others, my ambitious family, from which I can never escape, is at the top. But outside my immediate family, I have a second family.
My second family is a very special group of young men who I consider brothers in all things except for blood.
I took note as I got older and came into my own that I did not have many close LGBTQIA friends in my metro Atlanta, or at least not that I knew of. I wasn’t avoiding the culture, I simply had grown up in a small Southern city on the outskirts of the capital. Oddly enough, I was blessed with Southern gentlemen, but I managed to forge a brotherhood out of this odd setup.
I HID MY SEXUALITY FROM THEM until I was 18 and realized that I had to tell them to prove I really trusted them.
So one hot summer night, I let them know. To my utter surprise, they exclaimed, “Dude, we’ve known for years.”
I was blown away. These good ol’ boys with a love of football, hunting, shooting at the gun range, and beer and whiskey treated it as normal as they would any daily event. Just like that,it came and went, and I felt right back at home with my brothers.
I don’t know many of my LGBTQIA friends that have a mainly heterosexual inner circle, but I learned to appreciate them early on. In my experience,e my brothers gave me the greatest gift: normality.
They weren’t like so many others who asked invading questions, making bold remarks and backing up to cover their ground, or my favorite question, “Are you the girl?”
I did get occasional questions, but they were mainly like “when are you going to bring a man around?”
BEING THE BROS THEY ARE, however, there was no shortage of insults or typical aggression that you would expect from siblings, which made them ever more endearing.
The biggest question I got from them as my friends was, “Are you just trying to get in their pants?”
Besides making me feel normal for just being me, they taught me how to relax. These are the kind of men who fall flat on their face laugh it off and keep going.
They all come from “hard work with your bare hands” jobs and want nothing more when we’re all together than to pour a whiskey and coke and just sit with great company.
The ability to just let go of the stress of the week is truly a gift, and they inspire me to aspire for that level of ‘chill’ every day.
I JUST LAUGH WHEN PEOPLE clearly don’t understand the concept of unconditional friendship and the love I possess for my brothers.
I’m closer with them than most of my family, and the fact that I really have very little in common with them just means I have nothing to hide from them.
We have the luxury and treat of having nothing to prove to one another…other than who wins at beer pong.
Michael Chisholm is a freelance writer living in Atlanta. Reach him via our magazine.