Breaking Ground: A new voice in The Valley!
Valley Patriot Lesbian Columnist
By Dani Langevin – May, 2010
Yes, Virginia, there is a gay community in the Valley.
There are mothers and fathers, teachers, lawyers, dog groomers, firefighters, policemen and women, mail carriers, hairdressers, custodians, lab technicians, veterans, and every other vocation under the sun.
Just like the rest of the world, they put their pants on one leg at a time. Well, I know one man who prefers dresses and hello kitty coin purses, but I’ll deal with that another time. How many of us are here? I can’t say, but I’m hoping with this new opportunity to speak for them I will soon learn more about their lives, families, jobs, needs, dreams and desires. For the moment I can only speak for myself.
So, who am I? What are my qualifications to speak for the Valley’s gay community? Well, I am a lesbian or is it I am lesbian? I have never been quite sure whether that word is a noun or an adjective. Nonetheless, it’s a label that is a part of the many labels that have been assigned to me. My name is Dani B. Langevin. I was born the youngest of five children and raised in North Andover. My father was a dentist and my mother was a social worker. I have been living in Methuen for the past sixteen years, where I teach eighth grade social studies. For the past twelve years I have shared my home with my wife and our three children all of whom are young adults now. I have been ‘out of the closet’ for sixteen years. I was married to a very nice man for six years.
My 19 year-old daughter is a product of that marriage. My two sons are from my wife’s marriage. Ending my marriage and coming out was one of the most difficult times in my life. I hurt for my daughter and I was horribly frightened of what my family and friends would say. To make matters worse, my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I struggled for months, watching the life slip out of her day by day, wondering if I should tell her or not. I did, I cried and I apologized. She took me in her frail arms and said, “Don’t ever apologize for who you are.” Those words have kept me going during the most difficult events in my life.
For 30 years I denied myself my true being. I worried, I lost sleep, at times I tried to drink it away and all of my fears were answered with complete acceptance from all of my friends and family. I had one casualty. My best friend from my childhood, we knew each other since birth, walked out of my life and never looked back. It turned out to be no great loss.
In the past sixteen years I’ve met my soul mate and have been blessed with her two amazing sons. I’ve had the pleasure to be walked down the aisle by my father one month after gay marriage became legal in Massachusetts with five more states following suit and enjoy knowing that we are becoming a more tolerant and accepting world. It is my hope in the coming months and possibly even years, to give those of you that are clouded by stereotypes of the gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual (GLTB) community some insight into just how much alike we all are. I hope, too, that I give a voice to the 10% of the population who may feel that they do not have one. To help do that I set up a blog at gltbmerrimackvalley.blogspot.com for anyone who would like to tell me topics they’d like me to write about or would like to read about. I hope you enjoy what I have to say.