One of my (straight) friends, JT, is a cop. We ride motorcycles together in our off-time frequently. I have known him since grade school. We went on different career paths and lost touch while in college. A mutual friend held a party that I attended about 10 years ago. My ol’ pal showed up about the same time that I did, riding our motorcycles to get there. Our friendship renewed based on a mutual interest in motorcycling, we began riding together again from then on.
This past Sunday morning, JT asked me to ride to a pancake breakfast/fundraiser at a fire department in a distant town. Weather was gorgeous. My spouse said, “go for it. Have fun.” When we got there, another guy rode up and parked next to JT. They obviously knew one another by their friendly greeting.
The new guy, let’s call him Tom (not his real name), is a motor officer. He’s about 35 years old, very well built and quite attractive. JT introduced us, and then said, “Tom wanted me to get you two together for reasons he’ll explain.”
Tom said, “nice to meet you. I have some questions. You see, I’m gay…”
Me: “nice to meet you too.” But I didn’t ask or say, “you’re gay, so what?” I didn’t know him and didn’t want to come off badly. But it doesn’t matter to me if he is gay or straight. We shook hands and entered the breakfast, got our meal, and found a private place to sit, eat, and talk.
Tom went on to explain that he knew he was gay for a long time, but repressed his feelings. He has been in the closet. Not even his family knows his sexual orientation. But now that he’s met someone and they’re dating regularly, he asked his trusted co-worker, JT, if he knew anyone who could help him. That is why JT made a point to introduce us. JT looked at me and said, “you’re the only gay guy I know well enough to trust handling this matter with discretion.”
Tom continued, “there are other gay people on our force, but none in the motor squad. Most of the gay people on my force are in clerical or administrative positions. The only gay cops I know are lesbians. I hear guys talking about gay people in … not so nice ways.” Then he didn’t say much more, but stared down into his plate, which he had barely touched. It was obvious that he was troubled.
Then a stocky firefighter walked up to us, introduced himself as Chad (not his real name), and said, “you’re the guy JT was telling us about. I’m Tom’s boyfriend.” Wow… he’s quite a good looking guy! Friendly, affable, great smile.
I looked at Tom and Chad together, and it was obvious they really liked each other.
Tom asked, “what do we do? Chad’s family knows about him, but not his co-workers. I’ve only worked on the motor squad for a few years. I don’t want to blow my cover and have my relationships with my fellow cops change. I’m really afraid it will once they find out.”
I had to think… hell, I’m no psychologist. I’m just a guy who married his mate and who rides a Harley. How would I know how to explain to someone 20 years my junior how to come out?
I looked at Tom and Chad who were eagerly staring back at me, expecting some profound words of wisdom.
After I composed myself and got another glass of orange juice, I said,
… this will be continued in the next post. (This one is getting to be too long. Check back tomorrow.)
Life is short: figure out how to be the wise gay sage.