Over the weekend someone posted Ellen DeGeneres doing a commencement speech at Tulane in 2009. If you haven’t heard this I highly recommend you listen.
Ellen’s Commencement Speech @ Tulane University from James Huang on Vimeo.
Ellen is awesome, real, funny and inspiring. The speech is filled with her humor, but more importantly her message is one that is critical. Success is being able to be who you truly are, to contribute, to live in integrity, with compassion and not define your success by the measures of others.
Her story really touched home for me at this point in my life. In some ways I am coming out of the closet. No, I am not going to declare to the world through my blog that I am gay or lesbian. I do think I have been openly clear that my business and life partner is a woman, CrisMarie. However, the irony of my own personal coming out process is that it might be easier if I could just join one of the clubs – either as gay or straight. However, I just can not.
Here’s why. My loving has very little to do with my sexuality, and I am SO tired of having loving and sexuality be glued together. I am in a committed, loving relationship with CrisMarie. If I had to define my sexuality the best I could do is say bi-sexual. Now that might seem easy, but let me tell you, I have had some very painful and mean comments thrown at me from both lesbians who think I am copping out and straight folks who simply define okay as man/woman sex, married with children.
It is beginning to really annoy me that our culture is so determined to make sexual orientation such a big deal. I honestly do not get it. Now if someone is forcing any type of sexual activity or their opinion about someone’s sexual orientation on others, I am totally against it. Myself, I am not particularly fond of passionate physical expressions publicly by a man and woman, two men or two woman. It just isn’t my thing. But it isn’t about sexual orientation. Nor do I think people who do like public displays of affection are evil, bad or need to be corrected. I think I just like my physical, sexual expression to be more private.
Sure I am following the current marriage laws and hoping that at some point our country can catch up with so many other countries that get that a loving relationship is not defined by sex or gender, nor should it be. A loving committed relationship, a marriage is a union between two people who want to spend their lives, the highs, lows, pain and pleasure together. Sex is very likely to be a part of that, but sex is not necessarily loving or about love at all. Sure it can be. But really, loving and commitment to another person is so much more than that.
So I loved listening to Ellen and I want to come out of the closet. Not as gay or straight but as a human being, loving and learning through being with an awesome human being who is interested in sharing this wild and crazy ride on planet earth. I want to contribute and model compassion through valuing our differences and accepting people as they are.
Boy does it feel good to be out! So as Ellen’s concludes, “It’s going to be okay, Let’s Dance!!”
Fun Footnote: A number of people say I dance just like Ellen! Now that is a compliant I enjoy!