I must have told this story on Oasis about a thousand times, but if you really want to know, we'll do it again.
I was outed in high school, when I was a sophomore. Seems like a hundred years ago. Sometimes it seems like last week. Anyway, I was raised in a conservative little town in central Minnesota, and word gets around fast as hell, especially when the word is "Hey, that skinny kid with the long hair? He's a homo!"
So everyone knew by the end of, at most, the second day. I could tell right off that there wasn't going to be any containing this, so myself and a very dear lesbian friend of mine decided to run with it. We unilaterally declared a GLBT support group at school, with the help of our French teacher and a straight friend, and over the objections of the administration.
Of course, things got ugly fast. I look back on that year like I imagine people twice my age look back on their tour in Vietnam. I don't think a day passed without being harrassed, severely, all year. Not one solid week ever went by without me getting into a fight with someone. I lost most of them. I won a couple. I have a scar on my forehead from being slammed into a heat grate in the men's room. I got seven stitches. I went back to school the next day, just to make a point. I might be heckled. I might be spit on. I might be beaten. I might be hospitalized. But I will not be afraid.
We kept it up all through sophomore year, but psychologically, it took a toll. I started drinking more, and doing drugs (not that I look askance on drugs, but I was doing them for the wrong reasons). Problems at home, with the family. My grades collapsed. At the end of the year, I had what can only be described as a nervous breakdown. I ended up moving in with my father in another town.
The effects of that year linger, even now (I'm 24). It affects my relationships, the trust I'm willing to put in people, the amount of my life I'm willing to share, even with those closest to me. I haven't really been involved in activism since. It took my until last year to go to a Gay Pride event. But I took a lot of good from it too. I'm out for life, after what I went through in high school, I'm just not scared of shit anymore. Whatever piddling harrassment I might face in the "adult" world pales in coparison to what I've already been through, and survived. I know my strength, in a way that most people never have to find out, and even though it was a dark struggle, having that knowledge, knowing what I can take, is a blessing.
And the GLBT group, according to my little sister who graduated last year, still meets in Madame Johnson's room every Tuesday afternoon. Gay kids in Buffalo still don't have it easy, and won't for a long time. But maybe it's a little easier, maybe some other skinny white boy doesn't have to go get stiches on his face. Because of me. And no one can ever take that away from me. I've never been prouder of anything in my life.
TeeAhr1 (p. daniels) - Special Assistant To Mr. Wonka
Thank you for your contribution. It helped put things into perspective for me. I have long pondered the consequences me coming out may have. But I’m beginning to understand that regardless of how I am received, the experience will only make me stronger.
well, i know that school sucks, but i had the 'benefit' (wath out for the irony) of attending a catholic private school. let's just say i was nearly kicked out and had to make appointements with 'psychologists'. the funny thing was that the few friends that stood up for me had to do the very same thing. catholics are so funny!
I was even molested at scholl by another guy.
Cogito Ergo Sum