I moved to Oslo from Lofoten just after secondary school, when I was 18. The first real friend I made down here was I. We started singing in the same choir when she was 16, and we were best buddies in no time (none of us really fit in the choir of long-haired blondes from posh families). We hung out most of the time, although I won't blame her - or at least not solely her... - for me failing my first university exam... ;)
She talked to me about it when she thought she might be gay, I was the first one she told when she was sure... I was there when she told her parents, her brother and sister, and her grandparents. At different times... [Her mum probably thought I was of the same persuasion - once I'd stopped by wearing a dress (a rare occasion indeed, must have been on my way to something really formal...), she'd asked my friend if I was a transvestite... A dictionary would probably have been a good investment :) But I digress...]
All the while she was going through all of these phases, the insecurity, the first boyfriend, the first crush (not the boy...), the realisation and then, not least, the having to tell everyone -- I was just SO happy it wasn't me. I was so relieved I wasn't the one calling my old, blissfully ignorant granddad and shattering his world just a little. It was easy for me to be there for her, I felt I didn't have a single concern in life, whilst she had so many.
And I never for one single moment reflected that she had wanted this to happen.
... Now, I travelled with a friend to work the other day. We travel together quite a lot, and we've got kids at the same school, other than that we don't really "hang out". He's - up to now - seemed a perfectly irrational, marvellously insane and fun person to be with. I was also under the illusion he was quite intelligent. Somehow, though, we got talking about gays, and he said offhand that it wasn't his concern, and people should do as they please, but he'd never believe that this kind of thing was natural.
Hmm? Sorry?? Did I miss the irony??? But no, that was his idea of reality. And he said the only thing he felt was sad about this, was that some people would go through their whole lives, pretending to be something they really weren't. I totally agreed to that -- but for very different reasons!
So, this bright guy, hitherto proven quite liberal, and definitely no religious fanatic, told me that he thought "these people" had turned out like that by some influence or other, and by choice.
I was flabbergasted. I still am. Does this really happen? I thought it was just the ignoramuses!
My friend is still convinced she's gay, anyway... And has finally settled down with her girl, and their son, and all is well with our world...