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Travis Stanton

March 2001

"You know, the truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off." -David Drake

Relationships haven't been something I have been very blessed with... I mean, don't get me wrong, I have had my share of romance in the past few months, but the potential for what we lovingly refer to as an LTR hasn't been there. Perhaps my standards are too high, or perhaps I just haven't found Mr. Right yet... So, if Mr. Right happens to be reading this, I would really appreciate some help in this damned search! I mean, I can understand playing hard to get, but do you really think you have to hide? Well, Valentine's Day is over anyway, and I now have 12 short months to find my bachelor for next year... Now that I have digested by love life, it's time to get down to business.

On February 9th and 10th, I was able to produce a show that I wrote and directed at Augustana College. It's entitled "Family Graffiti" and tells the story of gay sons and their mothers. The show went over very well, and I have been on cloud nine ever since... Until the other day when I went to check my email.

A close friend of mine and I had been seeing each other for a few months when I got an email from him the other day. He lives in a very conservative community, and so we were limited as to how open we could be with our relationship. We weren't really serious, so I hadn't heard from him for about a week. The e-mail in my inbox scared and saddened me. Not because I was being dumped, but because I am afraid I am not the one who will be hurt by his decisions. Feel free to take a read...

Dear Travis,

Hope this letter finds all things going well. I know you've been very busy lately. But I won't beat around the bush. Travis I cant see you anymore. I have decided to change my life. I cant be surrounding my self by old faces and old places. Am I ever going to stop having feelings for men? Probably not. But If I surrender my will to the will of God I will die unto myself and he will bless me 10 fold of what I gave up. Sorry I could'nt do this to your face. It would have been way too hard for me. I really will miss you alot. You did so much for me in a time in my life when things were so uncertain. You sacrificed more than I would have expected and for that I thank you so much. I will pray for you. I do love you as a fellow Christian and as a friend. Good luck in Ohio. Sincerely, XXXX

Like I said, I was stunned. I was sick after reading it. I didn't know what to think, or what I should say. I sat down, and wrote the following response.

XXXX,

I really don't know what to say... I am not upset that we are not going to be together. To be quite honest, I was waiting for you to get ahold of me so that I could break things off... I knew it wasn't fair of me to be with you when I moved to Ohio. And also, I was very hurt when you didn't come to my show. But XXXX, there are some things that NEED to be said... There are some things that need to be spoken to you again so that you never forget them, because in one weekend, you have. I am sorry that you are in a situation where you feel you must make the choices that you have had to make, but you cannot make them unilaterally. We are all a product of our environments in more ways than one. I guarantee you that if you had come to my show this weekend, instead of TEC, you would be the same proud, god-fearing gay man that I care so much about. I don't know you anymore XXXX. You sat in my dorm room and told me about how the bible doesn't condemn homosexuality, and you told me that you could be a gay christian, and now you have succumbed to the propaganda of a group of people who is afraid to admit that we might be right. Your decision is not yours alone to make. You HAVE TO REALIZE that what you do affects every single gay student who will walk in the doors of your high school. You have disappointed me XXXX, but you have a chance to make it up to me. If you will talk this through with me, and let me see that you are making the decision for yourself, and for the right reasons, I will let you go and be happy that you have found your place in life. If you don't, I will have to think of you as a coward who wasn't willing to suffer persecution in an effort to make a better life for yourself and for so many others who need you as a role model in that community. And don't try to tell me that what you felt for me and with me was wrong or sinful. You and I both know better. The frustration for me is that I know you XXXX, and this isn't you. We cannot grow in life until we admit to ourselves who we are... I would write more, and could write more, and maybe should write more, but I will end this email here, in sincere hopes that your soul and your mind connect on a level of understanding, where you will honestly admit that you are who you are, and that that is not an abomination, but another one of god's creations.

"I got so sick and tired of people using the bible to tell me how dirty and wrong gay people were, because I knew damn well that I was one of them... and how do you argue against god? I forgot that I wasn't arguing against god. I was arguing against people. They took the parts of the bible that they wanted to hear, just like I had... That's the beauty of religion, is that it is what you make of it. You can take what you want from what you know, and use that to strengthen your belief in that god. No one accepts the bible as 100% infallible. Some of the most bizarre things I have ever read are in the bible. Did you know that menstruating women are considered unclean, and are supposed to leave the city limits during their periods? But no one is standing in front of a store that sells tampons picketing, and no one is saying that women who have their periods in the middle of the freaking city are going to hell, and no one is saying they don't deserve the right to be happy. People look at Sodom and Gomorrah and tell me that since I am like that, I am going to hell. But they don't listen when I explain to them that I don't sleep with everyone in town, and that when my friends have visitors over, I don't try to knock the door down and rape them... But if that section makes them feel better about themselves, or somehow makes their faith stronger, then I guess I'll let them read it... And when they use those parts of the bible to tell me that I am going to hell, I'll just remember the parts that tell me that as long as I believe that Jesus is my personal savior, he will be. And I'll remember passages that tell me that god loved the world so much that he sent his son to take away people's sins. ALL people's sins... SO IF I AM WRONG, AND YOU ARE RIGHT, AND BEING GAY IS A SIN, THEN I GUESS I'M PRETTY LUCKY TO HAVE A SAVIOR THAT'S WILLING TO OVERLOOK THAT... maybe YOU could take a lesson from him" - Family Graffiti by Travis Stanton

Don't do this XXXX. Please don't stop being you...

If you are going to give yourself to Jesus, make sure it's you you're giving, and not someone else entirely. with concern,

Trav

Well XXXX, if you are reading this, you know who you are. Please think twice about the decision you are making. We live our lives openly, and with pride partly for ourselves, but also in a desperate effort to show others that it's ok to be different. We will never know how many lives we touch in that process. We were all put on earth for a purpose. You are a brilliant young man. "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose!" -(Oh the Places You'll Go) I trust that you will choose the right path, and will walk down it with pride. And no matter what path you choose, I am certain that you will be blessed along the way. May God bless you in all you do.

I believe in you!

Please feel free to contact me through BreakingOUT, or visit our website!

Travis
stanton67@hotmail.com

Travis Stanton, 19, lives in South Dakota. He attends college, majoring in Modern American Entertainment, and is the founder of BreakingOUT, a web based organization for young gay men looking for assistance in the process of coming out.


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