An excerpt from An autobiography of Jasmin Roy
An excerpt from An autobiography of Jasmin Roy, Les Éditions des Intouchables, Montreal 2010, in French.
Jasmin Roy eventually found a fulfilling career in the performing arts, after a horrible youth in which he endured years of bullying and the tacit participation of adults and educators. They exacerbated his persecution through their own ignorance and silence, or even by joining in the laughter of oppressor youth, and finally in their trivialization of his youthful burdens. He writes of the slow and faithful friendships and long therapy which lifted him from near suicidal anxiety and self-deprecation. This brief excerpt makes a poignant appeal against ignorance which breeds oppression, and underlines the complexity of human relations and personality that cannot be reduced to sexual orientation alone.
My greatest mistake was to believe you. For many years you incessantly repeated to me that I was worthless, that I was a “fricken fag”, and as every good victim, I fed into your passion to destroy me. In my early adulthood I avoided forming any meaningful relations with heterosexual males, since I felt threatened in their presence, being persuaded that they were all monsters like you. By avoiding them, I deprived myself of relationships which would have helped to liberate my personal and my professional life.
The first time I wanted to set foot into a gay bar, I had to make several attempts before I found the courage. You had conditioned me to believe that all homosexuals are a gang of savage perverts, ready to jump me at the first provocation.
As I accepted my homosexuality and began participating in the life of the gay community, I discovered a world of treasures that disproved your prejudices and preconceived ideas. The human beings inhabiting this community are as complex as
you and have the same needs: they all want to be happy and to escape suffering. Your ignorance and your meanness have broken a part of my life in vain.
I don’t excuse your actions and your fury, but I have forgiven your ignorance. Perhaps if you had had some idea of how you were destroying me, you might have acted differently. I go on my way in life with no malice towards you. My only hope is that you would be able to grasp the sense of my witness, and would break the useless cycle of violence for the benefit of your children and grandchildren.
Among you now there are parents and grandparents. Perhaps you may have children or grandchildren who will discover that they are homosexual. Well, in part I have written this for them, so that may avoid the useless suffering I endured and that they may grow within a sane educational environment. I have also written this for you, that you may understand the weight of your actions and to conquer ignorance. Protect your children and grandchildren whom you love with all your heart, as I am sure you will. Don’t allow prejudices to guide your lives. In acknowledging the difference of others you will embrace your own. A developed society takes root within a plurality and diversity of expressions.
Today, I no longer fear heterosexual males. I can attest that many among them are not threatened by my sexual orientation and that they respect me with all the facets of my personality. I am neither better nor worse than them, I am the same. Only one thing sets me apart, my sexuality. I am content to rely on their friendship and I count them among my closest allies.
Translated from the French by Fr. Alexis Vinogradov