March 2001

First about me. My name is Colin Piper, I am 18 years old, started university last fall, 5 feet 11 inches tall, 140 pounds, the second and younger child in my family, and my shoes are size 11.

I always thought I would be one of those people who would be comfortable in any situation. After all, I spent the last two years of high school running and defending a Gay-Straight alliance. I shouldn't be shy about my sexual orientation. But here, I just don't feel right. My university is a large one, one where I could be anonymous if I wanted to, just a number. I'm in an all-male residence, which complicates matters somewhat, but being ridiculed is not something completely alien to me.

My openness got me a lot of respect as well, though, so why am I so...scared? It doesn't feel the same, anymore. I did the activism thing for a long time, and I'm used to it, but I'm also tired. I'm tired of being told I'm brave, I'm tired of being told I'm a fool. I'm tired of the shouting, the crying, the meetings, the messages I find in a bathroom stall saying "will suck dick," with my phone number underneath, the endless pamphlets, fliers, posters, buttons, temporary tattoos, free condoms, free newspapers, free concerts, free opinions, free sex, free love.

For two years, I lived the life, went to the meetings, wore the t-shirt, yelled the slogans, and passed the hat, and I just don't feel like it any more.

What's wrong with me? I'm suffering a midlife crisis before I hit drinking age.

I don't want to feel so apathetic about it, but I just can't seem to help it anymore. My activism muscles have atrophied, and I can't get myself out of this slump. I'm doing fine in school, I've made some friends, they know I'm gay, but it's such a non-issue for them that it might as well be the difference between eating Wheaties or eating Bran Flakes. I feel so intensely dull and boring, and colourless, and I'm not doing a damn thing about it.

It's easier, certainly. I'm caught in this nether-region of personhood, a face in the crowd, even to the people I live with. I'm *comfortable*.

Are other people out there suffering this apathy? I know that the battles aren't won, the bigots aren't educated, and the justice system isn't fair. I just can't bring myself to go out and swing the axe one more time, hand out one more pamphlet, make one more speech. I need to be motivated, and I want you to help.

Send me a story, something that will enrage me, or make me cry, or make me laugh, but I need something, to feel I'm not going to waste my time with those fliers and speeches, to feel like the sacrifice is worth it. The next time I find my name and "faggot" used together in a sentence in a bathroom stall, will I give a damn? Give me an excuse to get moving again, because I've tried to move and failed, sliding back into the same pit of "who cares" and "someone else will do it."

Will you care? Let me know at callingcolin@bolt.com.

Thanks, and maybe I'll see you next month.


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