January 2001

I guess we all make New Year's resolutions. And I guess we all forget them after a few weeks. It's almost a tradition to disregard them, isn't it?

Well, last year I decided to break with the tradition. A friend and I promised each other to come out to at least one close friend within the course of the year 2000.

Of course I thought that this didn't mean come out right now, but at the end of the year. So I lived happily and closeted until March.

In March, a friend told me that there would be a Melissa Etheridge concert. I couldn't possibly miss that, even if it meant driving across all of Germany. But that was the problem. I don't have a driver's license (the legal age for driving is 18 here). So I had to ask my mother and because it was such a great opportunity, I came out to her. Well, I didn't really catch her by surprise. I guess she always knew.

At the concert, I finally found the strength I needed to tell someone else. A close e-mail friend was the person of my choice. But again, no surprise. He had guessed it already.

Another pen pal I came out to turned out to be gay herself, so it didn't feel like a success. I wanted a real coming out.

Suddenly, it was September and I was about to go on a trip to San Francisco with some other students of my school and two teachers, one of them a lesbian. Of course, I wanted to visit the Castro, but didn't know whom to take with me. So I just asked my teacher (guess which one) if she would accompany me. And she did! It was a strange atmosphere at first, but at the end of the day, we had relaxed and could enjoy the trip.

One day later, I decided that a friend of mine should know I was gay, because the fact that we were a boy and a girl, just being friends, was too much for some students on our trip to understand and they had started rumors about us.

So I took him to a cafe and told him in a very frank way that I was a lesbian. He just stared at me, then said, "Alright" and one hour later, we were talking about gay marriage, bars and bookstores in our hometown, and a girl I had a crush on.

Okay, I thought, that's it. Enough people for this year. But no, those were only the people I came out to willingly!

When I came home, my father was already waiting to have a serious talk with me. Guess what it was about. Okay, so he didn't take it too bad either. He basically thinks that I'm too young to make a decision like that, but he accepts it. I can live with that for now.

Last week, my friend, who I came out to in San Francisco, told me that another friend of mine had seen some photos he had given me. Photos of Castro Street. And rainbow-flags. With a dedication: "The place that feels like home - Castro Street".

Well, this other friend had suddenly understood what all the little hints I had been dropping meant and knew that I was gay! What a shock.

She is a very conservative person and I had decided that she was the last person I would tell I was gay, if I would tell her at all.

I couldn't avoid a conversation now, but I was amazed by how well she coped with the situation. She didn't turn away, she asked a lot of question and we talked for some hours. Afterwards she hugged me and everything was the way it used to be.

Looking back at the year, I can say that I wasn't that bad after all. I came out to both of my parents, three close friends, my lesbian pen pal, a teacher, 2,000 people at a Melissa Etheridge concert and countless people on the Internet.

My New Year's resolution for 2001: come out to more people and encourage others to do the same. This is the reason for me to write for Oasis, I hope to encourage those of you, who still have to tell their parents and friends. Happy New Year and happy coming out.


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