I’ve made buns. Hot and cross for Easter. Today I received a card from an uncle, a chaplain, encouraging me that this year I might ‘consider resurrection’. I was terribly flattered, but think that might be beyond my powers.
But Easter is a celebration for me, a resurrection of sorts. It’s the anniversary of my own coming out, many years ago when I was a student. I celebrate it still – coming out is a life changing event without formal celebrations to acknowledge it. Lots of people now take it for granted, and in many ways now we’re encouraged to think we don’t need to come out, that it wasn’t or isn’t important anymore. A social move towards ‘uncoming out’, invisibility, assimilation, the backlash against equality and getting the message tom just shut up with the gay thing and not ram it down throats anymore. Be grateful, you’re nothing special or different.
It felt felt very different as a Catholic teenager with a crush on a best friend at University. There had been clumsy attempts at coming out before – a furtive purchase of Gay Times, an embarrassed confession to a priest who explained, as a former Rugby player, that all young men went through such a phase. And there was the punk girl who chatted me up on the top deck of the no 2 bus from town, who concluded I must be gay because I didn’t want to get off at the next stop have sex with her. ‘The house is empty’, she told me with glee.
But one Easter I blurted out to a guy from Kansas who was on overseas internship that I thought I wasn’t 100% straight. I don’t know how I got round to it, and didn’t mention I had crush on him til months later. But I got a hug, and all of a sudden I felt acceptance for something I hadn’t been able to accept for myself for so long. And that was it. Easter. Renewal. Rebirth. The rock had been rolled away from my tomb.
I’m reminded of a another coming out at easter. It involved an alleged tax avoider from the continent, who pretended to be a member of clergy at school. There were no CRB checks back then, and even if you were clergy you got away with all sorts. He was terribly camp, terribly outrageous, got away with calling us all ‘fuckin sheeeetheads’ in his unlikely foreign accent when teaching foreign languages, and decided it would be simply marvellous to produce a musical based on the gospels – but, naturally, to the songs of Diana Ross. So the Crucifixion had Our Lord tied upside down on a crucifix as they played Diana’s best selling ‘Upside Down’. And in a self effacing act of humility, he cast himself as Jesus Christ. In nothing but a very short, skimpy and rather sparkley loincloth. As Jesus would wear.
The highlight, of course, was the Resurrection. At which point out charlatan friend appeared rolling back the stone from his tomb, to the tune of Miss Ross’s ‘I’m Coming Out’. Which nearly happened with the loincloth, it was so skimpy. He was eventually spirited away to the continent on a one way ticket in the dark of the night. Faithful reader, I’m never sure how much of this true story could ever be true. But it happened.
So, whatever Easter might mean for you, I wish you the surprising, the unlikely, the unbelievable, and your own experience of renewal and rebirth. And some hot, sweet, sticky buns.