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Ben Shepard

April 2001

I am a seventeen year old high school junior in Northern New York. For all of you not familiar with Northern New York, I am way up north. As in beyond White Plains, and even beyond Syracuse. Believe it or not, New York does not end with Syracuse. Well, with all formalities out of the way I guess I'll begin. I have never written to Oasis before, so just bear with me.

Could someone please explain to me what "straight-acting" is? I always see personals on the internet in which gay guys describe themselves as "straight-acting". To the best of my knowledge, I have never seen more than three straight guys act the same way. I really hate the term "straight-acting", this term makes it sound like there is something wrong with being gay. Almost as if a person is saying, "HEY, I am gay...but I don't act like I'm gay. So it is okay to hang out with me, I promise I won't hit on you.".

As a matter of fact, the term "gay-acting" also gets to me, especially when it is used to describe an effeminate straight guy. Again, it makes homosexuality seem wrong, like it is an insult or something. I don't know how many times I have walked down the hallway at school and heard people say "Dude, that is so gay! Stop being such a faggoty queer, man!"

Queer...what a great word. I love to use the word queer, as a matter of fact, I am queer! I think it is all right for people to use the word queer, as long as it is used by a gay person, otherwise it becomes such a hateful word.

While I am on the topic of hate, isn't it such a coincidence that hate is very closely linked to ignorance? I am pretty sure all of you know what I mean, especially those of you who come from small towns like I do. My school is so ignorant to the idea of diversity is almost unfathomable. Some kids in my class don't even know what a lesbian or a gay guy is, they prefer the more derogatory terms such as dyke, queer, fag, etc. They have no idea what being gay actually is all about, they believe all we want is to get married.

Marriage (shudder) what a scary thought right now, for me anyway. The idea of spending your whole life with just one person is almost inconceivable, ugh, I don't even want to think about it right now. Sure, maybe someday I would like that, but there are more important issues for me right now, such as...acceptance? I don't expect these small town yokels to understand my lifestyle, I just want them to realize that I am the same person they have known for so many years, and that the only thing different with me is that I prefer the company of men (who doesn't?) Well, I guess that's all I can come up with right now. I would appreciate any feedback from anyone.

Ben Shepard

shepccb@hotmail.com


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