When I told my son Graham that I was trying out for the Eugene Gay Men’s Chorus, I said, “I have no idea what it will be like.” His quick reply was, “It’ll probably be pretty gay.”
He’s a funny guy. But truly, I have never felt more happily gay than I did singing in front of a full house with my fellow choristers on the night of our debut concert, Coming Out For The Holidays. Though I have been out for many years with friends and family, this was a kind of debut for me as well. For the first time I sought out the opportunity to be visible to the community at large as a gay man.
The search for community is a primary reason that men join a gay chorus. The lifting of gay voices in harmony is a gentle, shared political act that is at the same time very personal. What better way to say, “We’re queer, and we’re here,” than to show up singing, to give the larger community an opportunity to affirm our presence, to share in the healing of fear and division within and without.
As the chorus walked onto the stage for our first concert, before we had sung even one note, cheers and applause greeted us. I know that I was not alone in having a deeply emotional Sally Field Moment. You like me! Right now, you like me!
So, yeah, pretty gay.
To be sure, everyone involved in the chorus invested a lot of work and time. We produced a quality concert. But more, much more than this, we engaged with the audience in a conspiracy of love.
— Dean Walker