When one man was told, “It looks like you’re gay,” it was the beginning of something good.
George Ashiotis grew up in Astoria, Queens (NY). He began to lose his sight when he was five years old.
When most teenagers are told that something about them looks “gay”, they feel fear, or shame, or the need to hide.
It happened George went to a teen program he worked for. Unbeknownst to him, his fingernails were black from dyeing his sister’s hair. The counselor told him, “Well, you better clean your hand because it looks like you’re gay.”
He knew what the word meant, but it was the first time he’d heard it applied to himself.
About this experience, he says,
“Hearing that and having felt all my life attracted to men but not really putting a name on it or understanding what that meant, exactly, gave me such a sense of freedom and hope. I thought, “Oh my god, if there’s a name for it, then there must be other people that must be feeling the same thing that I’m experiencing, and I just need to find them.”
It really opened up a door for me and made me feel a lot more comfortable about myself.
As a gay man, and blind, or a blind man, and gay, he doesn’t see himself as that different. “We really have the same needs as everyone else. The need to hold and be held, love and be loved. And, you know, we have our good days and have our bad days. We may not accomplish a task in the same way that someone with eyes does, but we get the job done.”
Originally published at ImFromDriftwood.com.