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Haunted by forbidden love

I’m feeling a little antsy on this highly celebrated lovers’ holiday. And it’s not from paranoia of some creepy kid wearing a cloth diaper shooting me in the bum with a red arrow.After taking in the Oscar-nominated film “Brokeback Mountain” over the weekend, I’m haunted by the tragedy of forbidden love.Not that I know anything about forbidden love, really.I’m one of those lucky girls who has been able to explore romance openly since I began dating in high school. My sexual orientation, religious beliefs and genealogy haven’t stood in the way of love.Ever.I’ve never dated anyone my parents despised. I’m attracted to men as opposed to women. I’ve never even crossed racial barriers in a relationship. Come to think of it, I’ve never even tiptoed around the border.I’m as white-bread as they come.Just call me Lily.These characteristics don’t make me any more “normal” than anyone else. They might make my life a little less difficult in the scheme of things. I’ve been called oversensitive in my day, but that’s not the reason the film about gay sheepherders has me reeling. I think this is the first time I’ve really contemplated the raw, gut-wrenching feelings lovers who can’t be together share. This, especially when the love is shared between two men (who happen to both look really fine in Wranglers and cowboy hats).Sure, I’ve read “Romeo and Juliet.” And I never switch the station when that Rod Stewart song about “young hearts being free tonight” comes on the radio.Those are scenarios involving men and women. Or, in the Rod Stewart song’s case, a teenage boy and girl.Minor details.Unlike Shakespeare’s or Stewart’s tragic tales of forbidden love, “Brokeback” takes viewers on an emotional roller-coaster ride through taboo territory. Cowboy-boot-wearin’, horse-ridin’ sheepherders are not supposed to fall in love. They most certainly aren’t supposed to make love. But, straight out of a Greek tragedy, the lead characters in “Brokeback” do just that.Homophobes, be afraid. Be very afraid.Of course society’s constraints play a big role in the way the whole movie pans out. Believe it or not, being gay in the West is not as picture-perfect as it sounds.Many of my guy friends say being heterosexual in this valley of oh-so-few-women isn’t a such a gay old time, either.Like it or not, throughout the age of time, men have fallen in love with other men. And women have fallen in love with other women. Black men have loved white women, and Latino women have loved Native American men.Human nature doesn’t always follow a straight-and-narrow path.On this Valentine’s Day, I’m wondering how it would feel to love someone with whom I couldn’t openly share a relationship due to my own insecurities, or the pressures of mainstream society. What if, as I walked down the street holding my lover’s hand, passers-by judged me because “he” was instead a she?I will never know how that feels because I’m heterosexual.That’s just in my nature.April E. Clark will be rooting for “Brokeback Mountain” to sweep the Oscars this year.


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