I read various news items of the unexpected death of Chris Nutile (bio), a civilian who was, among other things, a good uncle to his nephew. (Because he’s underage, out of caution I’m not going to publish the name of the nephew, even though it was widely reported.) Nutile was such a good uncle that, in his memory, Nutile’s nephew lobbied the Boston Red Sox to add their own tiny grain of sand to the molehill known as the It Gets Better Project.
I am green with envy a kid in the 21st century can grow up with an out gay uncle who, by being himself, imprints another path through which boy can become man. I am never sure role models are real, but a masculine gay uncle seems like the closest thing to a role model a young boy could have. Through his example, a young man could learn that manliness is an option.
Here I am committing the venial sin of surmising and assuming. I spent a long time asking friends and family members of the late Chris Nutile if they’d be able to answer a couple of questions for me, but none ever responded. Hence I don’t actually know that Nutile was a masculine gay uncle. (Wouldn’t a lot depend on his voice?) Nonetheless, the photograph (credited to the nephew’s family) that accompanied the aforelinked ESPN article is at least suggestive.
I expect that a flaming or effeminate (or just a more typical) gay uncle would impart a different lesson to a young nephew, one that could in some cases be almost as salutary.