Wow, is this really what I’m going to talk about today? There are a few different reasons I chose this topic. Firstly this is a key to understanding who I am and where I came from. As much as my father may have shaped me, this part of my life really turned it around. My girlfriend doesn’t really know any of these stories because she chose to forget the past and move on, which is a very respectable stance. There are very few people in this world who are kind and understanding in that way, so I urge you to take note and make the difference.
There are a lot of people in my family who really dislike my social views, especially on the subject of homosexuality. That is because people are by nature fearful. There are a number of people who believe I forced myself to grow up too quickly, because I had strong opinions even at a young age. I believe in equality and love for all people; I’ve been on the other side of the wall. I’ve seen people’s fears manifest into hate. This world should be willing to love people despite their views or sexuality.
When I was very young I knew there was something different about me. I knew that people weren’t comfortable with the way I thought. I was the weird kid who wanted to play with dolls and then go inside and watch Pokemon and play video games. I remember adults trying to steer me away from dolls and socializing with girls because they were afraid I would turn into a faggot or a pussy. Well I analyzed what they said and decided I was going to do whatever I wanted to do because that seemed more logical in my small child mind.
I know there are going to be quite a few people that feel strongly opposed to the statement I’m about to make, but if you know me you also know I don’t really care. I knew I had an attraction to boys at a very young age. People always argue with that statement because that means that sexuality is not a choice. People don’t realize that children who are “normal” develop an attraction toward the opposite sex at a rather young age as well. They try to figure out why “fags” are gay, maybe it was molestation or another form of abuse. Why is it that people who are constantly persecuted are put under a microscope, and told that the devil must have been at work. The devil invented rock music for the “niggers” in the ghettos, and the devil made women stand up and say “I have a voice!” Maybe people need to stop persecuting others and realize that sometimes people just need to be true to themselves.
I’m sorry, I’ll try to refrain from ranting anymore about that, but I have seen this persecution first hand and it hurts. This is why I feel so strongly about this cause. Moving on, I will tell you a few stories about my sexuality and then I’ll tell you what each situation has taught me about myself. I knew I had an attraction to boys at a very young age. Call it a mistake or an act of confidence, but I took it upon myself to come out at a very young age as well. I had moved to Albion, IN at the age of nine in the third grade and I met my best friend Chris. We became very close, and we were in similar situations at home. Either of us had a father, we were both very adult and forward thinking for our age, and we both had rather strong opinions of things, which was hardly ever seen at our age.
I came out to Chris in the fourth grade, that was an experience I will never forget. I was a young boy who was rather new to our school. I had been dealing with the fact that I was different for a number of years at this point, and I felt that I had no one to turn to except Chris. My internal thoughts were so frightening though. What was he going to think? Is he going to stop being my friend? Is he going to tell people and if so who? I was terrified, I knew I couldn’t talk to anyone in my family about my sexuality, though I didn’t know that term at the time, I went to church every Sunday and I knew that God hated my thoughts. So I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. (I chose to go the way of the hard place, because at least for all I knew it wasn’t a rock.)
I was at Chris’ house and we were hanging out, playing games or whatever it was that we did to pass the time in our one horse town. I looked at Chris and said, “I have to tell you something.” Of course he was rather taken aback because I wasn’t one to get serious very often. I told him that I was gay and he freaked out for a short time. It was the first time he had heard anyone say it in person. Hell, it was the first time I had heard anyone say it in person! A rush of happiness flowed through my body. I was finally free of the chains that were my secret. I was truly happy for the first time ever in my life.
I refrained from telling my mom for many years, mainly because she was the rock in the previously stated idiom. So I told the people who I knew couldn’t really do anything about it. I told my friends, by sixth grade everyone in my middle school knew that I was gay. I was happy, but I in no way knew that I was going to be constantly judged by others. Middle school is when I realized the sting of rejection, the kind that makes you wince when you think about it. (It was like being a steak in a dog pen.) I was the person everyone wanted to be in middle school. I walked the halls proclaiming who I was because I wasn’t afraid of how people felt about that, but that made me a target for hate and intolerance. The reason that sticks with me so well is that people aren’t born with opinions of hate, those are traits learned and then acted upon.
From that point on I made it a goal to be out and open wherever I went. I left Albion and came back to Fort Wayne attending Northwood Middle School. I was OUT at that school as well, this was my first experience with a “homosexual relationship” if you can call it that. I met this boy named Jaron through another friend of mine. I was instantly obsessed, we were both young men dealing with the same things. We were both gay and we were both out to our friends, but we had not told our parents. We never met face to face because we attended different schools, but we would talk on the phone for hours at a time, talking about school and life.
I was in a rather deep depression in my eighth grade year, I attribute a lot of this to my home life at the time. Amongst other things I wasn’t able to talk to my family especially my mother about my sexuality, so as any teenager would, I withdrew from them. I began thinking about harming myself because over the past four years I had avoided this rock/hard place scenario and I felt as though it was whirling out of control. Eventually my mother found out that I was writing suicidal poems and thinking about the potential of suicide being an option for me. She did some more searching and found out that I had a “boyfriend” named Jaron. In her fear and rage she immediately pulled me out of school and placed my in a mental hospital.
I remained there for about a week, learning about my depression and how to deal with it. I also came to the realization that these people who were prescribing this medication to me, just wanted me to be myself if that’s what it took to make me safe. When I left the hospital my world was flipped upside down. I had been enrolled at a parochial school, so that I could be immersed in the spirit of god. All I found was a hate filled micro-culture that persecuted people with different views and beliefs. My mother then sent me to a Christian therapist, her name was Bonnie. She was a rather fat woman with frizzy permed hair. She was pasty white and looked to me like Richard Simmons with a thyroid problem. One day she decided she would talk about my struggle with sexuality and told me, “You’re sister could arouse you, but that doesn’t mean you are attracted to her.” Then she proceeded to tell me to start masturbating. To say the least, that was the last time I ever went back to her office.
I met a boy. I had been working at Scott’s for about nine months and this new boy started working there. His name was Gage, looking back I can’t remember what it was that attracted me to him. He was scrawny and short, but I instantly fell for him. We started dating, he was the first boy I had ever really dated or with whom I had had a real meaningful sexual relationship. I was crazy about him and I felt as though it was time to confront my identity crisis head on. I told my mother, and she was once again furious and fearful. She had tried so hard to believe god had cured me of my “demonic” ways, but she eventually came to terms with my stubbornness. I would not change my mind just because it would make life easier. I then moved on and told my sister, expecting her to be more open minded due to the fact that she had had two children out of wedlock and was a single mother, she knew persecution, right? I had assumed she would maybe not understand, but tell me she loved me and be my support system. She did a 180, she told me that I was disgusting and that she wanted nothing to do with me. I was hurt, but I moved on. I continued my relationship with Gage until it fell apart some months later due to some rather unfortunate events that I will discuss at a later date. My family and I have made amends for the hurtful things said to one another since, but it definitely changed our relationships forever.
After being betrayed by Gage I swore I would never get into a relationship again. They always led to lying and betrayal. So I went about two and a half years without dating or even pursuing a relationship because I was so hurt by the situation. I then started to become very close with a girl that I worked with. She knew Gage and had even hung out with him on occasion. She knew the situation and was very sympathetic to my pain. Her name was Kelly.
Some years later after the pain of my past had subsided, Kelly and I started hanging out on a day to day basis and realized we loved being around one another. We were intellectual and could talk about anything for hours at a time. So one day we decided to start dating. It was a pretty big leap I made having been betrayed so heavily before, but I took the leap and since then we have been enjoying a relationship together.
I have learned so many things from experience with my sexuality. It has made me realize how fickle people can be if you share your views. I have lost more friendships sharing my views than I can count, but I have become much closer to the friends that have stuck around. I have learned that you can’t count on your family to be supportive all of the time, but unfortunately you’re stuck with them so make the most of it. I have felt the sting of betrayal, but you never know who or what you’re going to find on the other side of that pain. Most importantly I do not believe that I need to align myself with being gay or straight or bisexual, I am exactly who I need to be. I don’t think sexuality should be some war that people fight, but a part of life. It is a force that surges through all of us and it is very personal and unique to each one of our lives. It’s like an river of mystery that ebbs and flows, let us not question it but stand in awe of it and marvel at it’s diverse beauty.