The first time I met Trevor was our freshman year of college. He was a tall, thin and animated redhead. He was definitely an attractive guy, and aside from the fact that redheads really are not attracted to other redheads, at that age where I was boy crazy and generally attracted to anyone who paid attention to me, I never felt that for him - in a romantic way. But I was instantly attracted to him as a person and our brother/sister love for each grew very quickly. He soon began dating my best friend. And while they were a lot of fun, it never really seemed right and fizzled out soon and quite dramatically. The next few years, my frienship with Trevor sometimes strained my friendship with my best girl friend. But it continued to grow and there came a day when I didn't remember life without him.
When we first met, I really didn't know anyone who was gay. I know I had met them and I know I had heard them talked about at my church and I knew that I was supposed to think they were doing something wrong. Over the next few years, I believe God began to prepare me for what would happen after college graduation. Slowly, I began to encounter gay people who challenged my world view and my church upbringing. I was very close to two people who showed me examples of Christ in remarkable ways and I had to struggle to reconcile that with the fact that they were gay. All the while, people began speculating about Trevor. And at every speculation, I dismissed it, because he did. Eventually, it even became a joke among our mutual friends, and I joined in the joking and teasing. After graduation, we worked together (well, that's a loose description, actually he paid me to hang out at his place of business) and in that year between college and my exit to law school, we became even closer and we began to learn that friends of ours from college were coming out of the closet. And the jokes continued. But in the back of my mind, I knew.
I remember the phone call. I was in my living room in my apartment in South Bend. I listened as he told me and I cried. I cried and I apologized, over and over. How could I have been so insensitive? How could I have contributed to his apparent need to continue to hide who he was? And how could I have let my friend, my brother, suffer in silence when if I was honest with myself, I knew the truth? I am going to send this to him and he is going to tell me this is way too dramatic. And I'll admit my bent toward that at times, but to this day, I remember conversations where we made fun of him and joked about the possiblity that he was gay and they haunt me.
Since then, I have watched Trevor grow and change and come into his own. He has a wonderful, loving partner who complements him and brings out all of his best qualities. He has built an amazing, successful business and he is proud of who he is. And now, he is the father of a wonderful 7 year old boy who has been waiting his whole live for two people to love and care for him.
When we found out we were pregnant with our second son, we went through a whole litany of names and we just couldn't find one that we loved. We thought we had used the names of the only men in our lives who were worth naming children after with our first child (yes, the list is unfortunately short). But one day, Carl came to me and said, "I like Trevor." He liked the name, and as he pointed out, it was the name of a man we both love and respect. I resisted at first. I could just hear various people in my life and their reactions and frankly, I didn't want to deal with. But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. So we decided on it and I told people, including Trevor, "we really like the name and it happens to be the name of my good friend, but we aren't naming him after Trevor." I type that and I laugh, and am embarassed . . . and ashamed. Was I really afraid of telling people I named my son after a gay man - who I claimed to consider to be my own brother? Well, eventually I came around and I tell everyone that Trevor is named after . . . Trevor.
I've been thinking about all of this lately and felt compelled to write about it because of all the talk of the Trevor Project - a suicide hotline for gay and questioning youth. Obviously, anyone who loves someone who is gay is moved by the rash of suicides among gay kids lately and obviously, anyone who has children is moved. The fact that one of the many gay people I love and my son share the name of an organization dedicated to this cause won't leave my head. And I want to do something. Right now, all I can do is write about it and commit to loving my children and teaching them to love. But at some point, I know I am called to do more.