Do they ask you? Or do they all pretend that they don't notice? How is that for you? This happens to you throughout the day, but finally you have an opportunity to go home. You walk through your door, and you lean against the door with a sigh of relief that you've made it through the day. And as you reflect on the day, remember your experiences. What surfaces as the most significant experience? What do you feel now that you are at home?
You've made a social engagement for the evening, one that you cannot get out of. What do you do? Are you anxious? Would you like to get out of it? Do you suddenly find yourself getting ill? You get ready to go out one more time. Do you take a deep breath before you go out? Do you say anything to yourself about what the evening's encounters are going to be like? You make it through the evening, and you come home for the last time, knowing that you do not have to go out again. Are you tired? Do you want to talk to someone? And if you were to tell someone what it is like going through the experience, what would you want to tell them? How would you want them to be with you as you talked? What would you need from them? Would you want anything from them or for them to be a certain way with you? As you're lying in bed, you find that you're absolutely exhausted. Do you tell yourself that it was no big deal? Are you flooded with feelings? Are you fortunate enough to have friends to whom it doesn't matter, or are you alone with your secret and your feelings of exposure? (Allow time for participants to reflect on their experiences and internally to reflect on these questions.)
As you're ready, slowly come back to this room and into this time. And when you feel that you're here, open your eyes.
Discussion Questions. Now that you are back in this time and space, I would like to spend a few minutes talking about your experience in participating in this exercise. I am not asking you to share your secret, but to risk sharing your experience. Did you learn anything about yourself or about the experience of being vulnerable that perhaps you didn't already know? Did you get a clearer sense of what you wanted from your friends? Did you get a better idea about what you need from someone in order to be able to talk to him or her? As you reflect on this experience, do you have a better understanding of what it might be like to be a lesbian or a gay man? Do you have a clearer sense of what they might need from you in order to talk to you about their life as a lesbian or gay man? I hope this exercise will continue to prove useful to each of you in the future as you interact with members of the lesbian and gay male communities.