The “G” Word
In August, my cousin Cici is getting married.
Now, a steady stream of gossip flows throughout the extended family on an off-season, but when funerals and weddings are in the midst, the gossip increases tenfold. There’s speculation, questions, feelings and history that must be taken into account as the gossip flourishes to climax at the wedding.
“Who’s going to the wedding? Are you going to the wedding? That family has all doctors. Do you remember what he did before grandma died? He’s not invited to the wedding. Uncle’s probably going to ask for more money, but at least he has a job now…” are just a few examples of what’s flowing through the telephones amongst my mother and her siblings, which trickles down to us kids. My siblings and I then fill in some of the blanks my mother seems naive about, as my mother’s not fully involved with social media to know it all.
There’s one piece of gossip my mom and her siblings would never talk about so openly that my siblings and I talk in brief, as we aren’t even really comfortable talking about such things. Talking about it will release a can of worms, which no one in my family dare open. However, my brother likes to take a jab at it at times, as he did the other day at the dinner table.
“Isn’t one of the brothers (of Cici) gay?” my brother Joey asked.
“No, that’s the other family,” Dorothy said. “That’s Nick.”
“Oh yeah,” Joey said.
“I don’t think that anyone in that family’s ‘G’,” Rose interjected. “I think they’re just really weird.”
“No… Anthony’s g-gay,” I muttered. “He’s the one that went to Dorothy’s wedding.”
“I think there’s always one in every family, huh?” Joey said, smirking. I adverted my eyes to my food as Dorothy gave Joey a knowing look. The conversation was over.
The Disappointment and Disclosure
It was 2006. My sister Dorothy was getting married, the first wedding of a dry spell of weddings because of the generation gap. It was the first grandchild wedding in the family, one that my last grandparent was able to attend. This meant that every family must have a representative, particularly the blood-related aunt or uncle. My mother is one of 6 children, and I was familiar with 4 of their families but was always curious about the missing relative: my Uncle Frank.
I didn’t know much about Uncle Frank. My mother told me that he’s my baptismal godfather and that he had leukemia at one point of his life. He keeps his distant to our side of the family because his wife hated our side of the family, but that we did have some cousins from him. I had a Harry Potter moment and was intrigued about my godfather, and I was worried about him since I heard he had been sick (I didn’t know it was a while ago).
When the wedding approached, everyone was accounted for. My two aunts’ families stayed at our house and my three uncles’ families rented a hotel room. I was eager to meet my Uncle Frank and his family, but they was going to just meet us at the wedding ceremony rather than come early to hangout. After taking pre-wedding photos, my family and I left the church’s hall for the start of the procession. There he stood, my Uncle Frank, which was a foggy clone of my Uncle Tim I’m so familiar with. There was no time to gawk, as I walked down the aisle with my cousin Maria.
After the ceremony, everyone drove over to the reception. There, I met Uncle Frank’s children Cici and Anthony. They said they didn’t know they had any relatives in Indiana, and when their parents said that there was a wedding there, they didn’t know who it was. Cici was a bubbly sort, while Anthony was more smug. We exchanged AIM usernames and swore to keep in contact.
During the reception, I continued to interact with my Uncle Frank, but every attempt seemed ridiculous. His wife and he didn’t seem interested in talking to me, and he looked down on me. I tried to hug him, but he dodged it and walked away. I was pretty heartbroken about it and now know why our families didn’t mesh.
But don’t punish the children for the father’s (and mother’s) mistakes. I was thrilled to be in contact with my mythical cousins, especially Anthony. Call it hypocritical, but I don’t really find other Asians particularly attractive. However, after having came home from my Asia trip and seeing some so-so looking Asians, I was a bit more opened. And I was still at the awkward phase of really knowing if I was gay, but I knew that i found Anthony attractive.
I wasn’t totally flirting with him or trying to ‘get in his pants,’ but I was attracted and I was talking to him and Cici through AIM a lot. In one of these long conversations we had, we got to talking about our crushes. I was comfortably in the closet, not letting on too much that I was a questioning homo. However, Anthony sheepishly disclosed to me that he was gay.
At that point, all bets were off and I flashed my peacock feathers. We traded photos of our crushes and what we thought were the hot guys in our classes. We confided in each other about how our families don’t approve, that our mothers were crazy against it but he had a sister he could talk to, Cici. I had a bit of fun at Cici’s expense, making her think she outed Anthony but didn’t. But in the end, the times of AIM ended and Facebook condensed all forms of communication to one platform (age of MySpace, LiveJournal and Xanga ended, followed by MSN messenger and Yahoo messenger).
Every Family Has a Flaming Duck
My brother had blatantly stated “I think there’s one in every family” a couple of times before now. He said it about a week before the aforementioned event, and he had stated it when we the same speculation was spoken about old classmates. Joey’s pretty stupid, and he likes to press the buttons but he’d swear he didn’t mean anything by it. But whenever he exclaims these conclusions, the conversation always deter to a murmur as everyone’s inner eye looks directly at me.
I’m the family secret. We don’t talk about my homosexuality, even though it’s almost crystal clear. But talking about anything gay is a taboo and stiffens the atmosphere of the house. Even the word “gay” is treaded on carefully in my house like “Voldemort” in Harry Potter, exchanging it for the letter “G” instead. But looking past the overlooked fact, I wonder about this (probably more commonly perceived than I believe) concept bear any water?
When looking into it, there are a lot of celebrities that have gay siblings. There’s Chris Evans, Colin Farrell, Catherine Zeta-Jones, the Carver Twins, Ariana Grande, Adam Levine, Chloe Grace Moritz and even Colton Haynes (who came out as gay himself recently). They’re all publicly supportive and proud of their siblings, ‘in spite’ of them being gay (as bad as that sounds). It may seem that the media outlets would just want to display these families to show that there are a lot of families with gay members.
However, I start to think closer to home. Five of the six families of my mom’s side either have a known gay or at least have a questionable past/future. There’s Anthony, Nick and I that are verified homosexuals, Dewey who has a spotty past, and Joe who will probably experiment in college (if he hadn’t already). My dad’s side lives mostly in Asia, but if you have been reading other blog entries, my Asian relatives have a skewed definition of ‘gay.’ Besides the ‘straight’ men who enjoys the feeling of other men, my dad’s cousin has three children, all speculated as gay.
But when I think about my small high school (with around 50 person per grade), every class had a homosexual or two. I don’t want to appear ignorant or that I think everyone’s gay, but it seems that in any classical categorization of people in my life, I could pinpoint one person that could be or proudly are gay. And if they’re a family as big as mine, then more likely than not there’s a homosexual child.
I was looking forward to seeing my cousin Cici and Anthony again. Obviously Cici has found love, but I was wondering if Anthony had. Anthony had just graduated from med school, but he seems to have lost his looks in the process — sadly, looking more like his crazy mother. But my mother had been thinking about the wedding, and working it out in her head, she is having second thoughts of trying to bring the whole family to see Cici get married. She’s thinking the expenses wouldn’t be worth it, especially when her mother still hates my family and they never attend my family’s ceremonies. So I might not get to meet them again after all.
I’m partially glad that there’s a possibility that I won’t go to the wedding, though. I don’t have a proper job yet and my Facebook isn’t totally gay-free, which may lead to my cousins saying something about it to my family and leading to a whole ‘thing.’ I know that I’m probably the one that all the other families talk about, being the ‘gay one.’ And I’m kind of alright with that.
Maybe there is always one in every family. And I’m the one. The flaming duck.