By Lynn Conner

For what seemed like forever I had felt lost, alone, fighting within myself about being gay, being disabled, being undesirable and unemployable. With all the rejection I had experienced I feared I would be lonely and alone for the rest of my life. I was desperate for change, but never thought it could happen.

Then, about six weeks ago, I wrote to an able-bodied guy who had joined the Disgaytalk list. I don't think either of us expected much when we started corresponding; now neither of us knows what happened, it all happened so fast. I never thought that I could find someone— anyone—let alone someone so loving, caring and, maybe the hardest part, understanding.

Whoever is watching over us sent me the most wonderful guy. He's made me happier than I have ever been in my life. We enjoy doing the same things, and he has even opened my eyes to pursuits I never thought I'd be able to enjoy, like sailing with Foot Loose (a disabled sailing club in Seattle), kayaking, and camping (crammed into a trailer but a lot of fun).

You might say that Dennis is just an ordinary guy, but because he accepts me, loves me, his personality and character seem extraordinary. And did I mention that he's really cute?!

Because of the way my life has changed, everything seems full of surprises these days. For one thing, Dennis belongs to a church that is totally open and caring. I had never felt that kind of joy, either. Everyone in the congregation is happy for him and for me, a big surprise. They know that Dennis is gay, they know that I am gay, and they don't care that we are together. No, that's wrong: they do care. They are happy because we have found each other! I'll never forget the first time everyone stood during the service for hymns. Everyone but Dennis, that is. He didn't budge, just stayed sitting right there next to me.

The first time I stayed with Dennis, we were camping with his church group near Bellingham, Washington. During those three days it was interesting to see and hear how people reacted to us. Dennis and I had just met, but people seemed to think that we were boyfriends or partners, which must have been evidence of how well we treated one another right from the start. After the camping trip, the pastor said he thought that Dennis had finally found someone who could keep up with him and his comments. Dennis loves to "jab" people verbally. With me he gets it right back. It is great to have someone that you can spar with, be with, and love every minute of it!

My efforts to deal with my spasticity (my legs spasm constantly, day and night) are still frustrating, but it feels good to have someone I can rely on for support and understanding. My doctor is being such a pain in the butt about it (literally), that I am considering trying to find a surgeon in Mexico who is willing to alleviate the spasticity permanently.

At first Dennis said he didn't understand. I think he disapproved of such a radical solution (I'll admit it's scary), but after he was present for some of the more violent spasms, he agreed with me that severing the nerves might be better than living with that kind of constant and painful disruptive activity.

I don't know how I will be able to afford it, but I'm seriously considering it as a last-ditch effort. It would make me more comfortable with myself physically. Emotionally, too, it would improve things, since it's tough to put up with the way people stare.

Because I have lost the ability to ejaculate, I feared that I would be unable to satisfy Dennis sexually, but he says that my lovemaking skills put him over the top. Being able to make someone totally happy and satisfied in this way is one more thing I thought I would never achieve. It's difficult to communicate how good that makes me feel.

While Dennis and I were out looking for a car for me recently, we began to discuss what we were, what to call ourselves. Are we dating, are we boyfriends, partners? We could not decide. On the way home Dennis mentioned that he accidentally told the salesman that his "partner" needed a car. Well, that explained the odd looks the salesman had given me. I told Dennis that he had "accidentally" told three other salesmen the same thing. He hadn't even realized it. We both figured that kind of answered the question as to what we were! I have a partner!

We still have to work out how we are going to live together. He even brought up the issue of permanent commitment—marriage. One night while we were in bed, he blurted out that that we were having sex before marriage. It caught us both off guard and we fell into hysterics.

And here's another difference about my life that fits into the Big Surprise category. I was miserable during all the years I denied who I was and "played" hetero. When I came out, I thought my loneliness might end, but all I found from gay men was rejection. Finally I have true love and guess what? Instead of running away, even my straight friends are happy for me. All of life's problems seem much easier to deal with when you have someone to love and have friends that are not afraid of you for being disabled and gay.

Yesterday, a young woman (I noticed she had a hearing problem) was getting off the bus when she stopped, put her hand on my arm, and told me that I was a very handsome man. Gee, what is the world coming to? I finally admit who I am and now the "other" sex thinks that I am handsome. One more proof of the strange twists and turns our lives take.

I've rambled here, but I just had to tell you what it feels like to be on Cloud Nine after being marooned for so long on Cloud Minus Nine. My guy came in the most unusual way, totally by surprise, right out of the blue! Love is wonderful, the greatest gift possible. Maybe it comes when you stop looking for it. I don't know. I'm too happy to care!

©2002 Lynn Conner
Illustration: "Hands Rising" ©2002 Donald Mark


Don't wait.
Let us know what you think of this BENT feature.

Lynn Conner
writes, "I am an incomplete para on his way to becoming a para due to a growth on my spine. Complications during surgery last year resulted in the amputation of half of my left foot. I think my article tells you everything else that seems important right now."




BENT: A Journal of CripGay Voices/November 2002