On Thursday, The Washington Post celebrated Thanksgiving as somehow secular, the perfect day to announce you're gay. Ned Martel's article began: "Word to the wise: Thanksgiving is the proper holiday to tell your family that you’re a homosexual. It’s arguably secular, so you’re confronting tradition, not faith. Even though National Coming Out Day is in October, this is the day when gays and lesbians, newly announced or otherwise, are really driving it all home."
He brought anecdotes to the party: "A few years ago, a friend of a friend told his sister that he was going to tell their parents his news at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Seated and fretful, he listened as she spoke up first. Before he even got his throat cleared, she came out ahead of him." Pass the potatoes? Martel later acknowledged the obvious, that this "secular" holiday has (threatening) Puritan pilgrim origins:
I’m not going to get all Norman Lear on you, when you’re preparing your Norman Rockwell tableau. If it helps, think of homosexuals as the rightly worried tribe sitting across from the Puritans. I’m just saying the table should be set for them, in the borderless world that is gay America. Gays and lesbians are in every family, somehow. Make them a plate.
Martel lectured that the inclusion of gays is what makes America whole: "The Martels know my sexuality hasn’t torn at the family fabric, and my coming out, somehow, makes us whole."
But the Gay Superiority comes peeking out, that the homophobes have made the gays the wittiest characters at the table: "Since playground survival days, all gays have punch lines at the ready. It’s overcompensating, but that’s cool. Repartee meets rapid response. And, sometimes, you need to be Thanksgiving gravy, the tasty extra poured over the annual monotony and daily bread."
Martel also acknowledged that his identity clashed with his Irish Catholic upbringing, and mentions a devout uncle who offered him a notable sum to become a priest:
Back then, the diocese rarely mentioned homosexuality with today’s echoing intensity. But as a news-obsessed kid, I was transfixed by the men protesting Cardinal John O’Connor in the middle of St. Patrick’s Cathedral during the peak of the AIDS crisis in the late 1980s. Without having acted on my impulses, I felt I was down to two options: I could be a priest or a protester.
I passed on the offer. And I am making it sound dramatic, because it was then. Anyone can revisit the intensity in the new documentary “How to Survive a Plague” or any stagings of “The Normal Heart.”
Somehow, Martel failed to acknowledge that the Catholic Church is the nation's leading provider of AIDS care.