Joshua S.

March 2000

Island Blue: sober in a world of intoxication

I remember when I was younger that I believed all gay people were skinny, stereotypically femme/butch, promiscuous, and could never find their one true love. I used to believe that in accepting myself, I would be condemned by my family and be forced to live alone. I would get AIDS at a young age, and die at a young age. This is what I thought it meant to be gay.

As I got older I realized I could find someone, I could have morals, I could be myself, and my family could accept me too. I became an activist and tried to make people understand my viewpoints, my beliefs, and experiences. I thought coming to college would allow me to be a part of a community that I would thrive in. Instead, I realized I don't fit in with my university's gay community. It is like a fraternity that would rather get drunk and talk about sex than educate and service the surrounding communities. It angers me to know I'm losing a sense of myself, because I slowly try to conform to how they feel and act. I have made attempts to change things by becoming the Philanthropy Chair Person for the gay organization on campus. Unfortunately, they would rather have keggers and late night dinners than be a part of volunteer work at the AIDS Project of Central Iowa. I don't understand why our civil rights movement is decentralized from other human rights campaigns, and why my university is so unwilling to make a difference.

I look at myself in the mirror, and occasionally see the boy I've always known dying in front of me. He feared the world, and found it easier to reject things than have his beliefs heard. He thought he needed someone's approval and love to feel complete. He wanted to die. I understand now that it is the right thing. Letting him die will be my rebirth. As we welcome spring, I enter my reawakening.

I've allowed school and myself to suffer because I found it simple to run away. Eating to separate from my feelings, and causing physical pain to cloud the emotional hurt. I won't do it anymore. I have struggled with one disorder after the other, and I've never found a resolution. I know what I want out of life, but depression pollutes my body and leaves me bitter and afraid. It has to end now for I can't afford to face the complications that have weakened me for years. I face this task in the midst of questioning "my community."

I know I shouldn't judge the gay community on a small group of students at Drake University, but I do. This campus in a way is my world, and the people hear have so many unattractive characteristics. I have yet to meet a gay man that is truly monogamous. There is one couple on campus that has been together for years, and they are envied and admired from afar by many.

Unfortunately, it is just a show. They have had 7 affairs between the two of them, and they continue to hit on other people and fight recklessly. It seems image is more important than love, and money is thicker than blood. They all conform to create an image of high maintenance and bitchy superiority. What happened to the movement for equality? What ever happened to wanting to be with one person, and loving them for who they are...and not what they wear? I continue to be a part of the Bi, Gay, Lesbian Alliance at Drake (BGLAD) for I feel it's important to use them as a stepping stone to achieve work I think should be done. In no way do I feel like I'm a part of their cause, and in no way do I want to be like them. I know that may seem rude, but I don't understand how people can become so consumed with themselves and the image of stereotypical gay perfection.

I will in time achieve the goals I have set for myself, and I will do it without the anger I've always used to move me. I need to stop looking for a place to fit into for where ever I go I will have an influence... I will have a voice. I will conform to my own sense of self, and in time I will truly accept the vast array of thoughts and feelings within me. I will no longer allow the drink of others to poison me.

Joshua S.

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