I leave for NYC tomorrow and I'm nervous as all get out. Most of it is excitement but part of it is the performance. I don't feel ready. Even knowing I'll be in the middle of a huge choir I'm still not ready. I sing First Tenor in the program, lower First Tenor in our only TTBB piece, "Livin' Out Loud" (my favorite and I hope sung at my wake). I'll sing through it today while I'm packing and hopefully be less nervous. Being with my friends from choir will help a lot.
Reid sent me an article he had written 5 years ago about what factors made his transition from female to male smoother. It made me think about what made me more accepting of my own orientation.
I didn't fully accept myself until April 1994 when I realized that my affection for my best friend from high school was more intimate and sexually directed than a usual relationship between friends. I didn't come out to friends until later that year; I came out to my relatives when I joined the Portland Lesbian Choir in 1999. There was a bond within that group that gave me the courage to tell my sisters and brothers I was a lesbian and it gave me the confidence to pursue my desires.
But I didn't really feel a family bond until I joined Confluence Chorus. I enjoy women, but I really enjoy the company of men. When I'm at a mixed party, I gravitate toward the men. Singing with Confluence gave me a sense of wholeness that I had not felt at any other time. The group is comprised of heterosexuals, gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender folk. I have learned so much from this family of singers and gained so much understanding of the other cultures of queer life that if I had to leave it would wrench me more than if I had to sever ties with my blood family.
When I was with the PLC I identified myself as lesbian, but I was truly bisexual. I had said early in my life that I didn't care who I loved as long as the love was mutual. Gender had nothing to do with it. But I didn't dare identify myself that way within the PLC or with some lesbians for fear of being ostracised as not being part of the "club". In Confluence, I could embrace my bisexuality. I could be me and know that I was loved as a person who happens to be bisexual.
We sing "True Colors", which Cyndi Lauper sang in the 80's. It's a song that tells the audience we care about you no matter who you are. We don't judge you by your orientation, your race, your creed. It's you we care about and we embrace you. For those going through transition in our group, it's a very moving song. We sing it at our retreats and there are always some who are so moved by the spirit it raises they can only mouth the words as the tears flow (I'm one of them).
So I hope we take that spirit with us to New York and project it in our voices. Our group is a microcosm of Confluence. We have straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender members representing Confluence in this concert. We will show our true colors and bring our joy to share.