May 2001

The closet...how many of you are tired of hearing those two words? The closet...how many of you are within it's confines? I've been getting a lot of email lately with people asking me if they should come out of "the closet." That's what this is about. What **I** think you should do. (hence word, I, means this is an opinion)

Coming out in high school is not for everyone. Very few people have the right kind of conditions to "come out" in safety and in comfort. In order to do that your life would have to be perfect. You would have to have parents that APPROVE of your being gay, lesbian, or bi; and would fight for your rights. You need a family just like your parents. Your community would have to be completely open-minded. Your high school would have to be filled with understanding teens.

Now how many of you have those exact conditions? If any of you say yes let me know, and before you know it I'll be living next door. Most of us, like me, have parents who raised you to believe being gay is wrong. On a side note how many of you out there believe you are wrong for being gay? If so please refer to my article "Normal." Now back to what I was saying. Most of us live in communities that are totally unaccepting. I have an advantage there. I am in contact with a very well know gay rights activist in West Virginia.

Most of us have families that would not like the idea, and more than one or two would not want to have any thing to do with us once they found out. Let me give you my conditions for coming out and let you compare them to yours. I have loving parents that after the initial explosion, that includes making me feel like I'm the scum of the Earth, were tolerant and supportive of my "decision to be gay."

First off, that's a crock of shit. It is not a decision. But that's next month’s article. It's really hard to try and make them see that I didn't just wake up one morning and decide that I was going to be hated, feared, and scorned by half the world. It's not like I said "hey I'm tired of girls I think I'll see how guys are." Now please. How many of you said that? (BTW I'm speaking from a male point of view. I hope the ladies don't take offense. it saves time this way)

After I got through my parents I had to deal with my family. WHOA! What an obstacle. I'm officially banned from four households in my family that pervasively welcomed me as one of there most treasured family members. Thank God my grandmother on my dad's side didn't react that way. She sat me down and talked with me asking me all sorts of religious questions. She knew that I had be a Christian for a year and five months. She said she was "making sure I hadn't lost my salvation with this sudden decision to be like that."

Then that sparked an hour long discussion about how I've known I was gay since I started puberty. Anyway my grandfathers (both of them) didn't like it at all and to this day barely talk to me. My other grandmother didn't care a lick. She said she had been able to tell for a while. My brothers and sisters don't care. Two are still too young to understand and my sister *grumble grumble* do you know what she said?

About two weeks after I came out we were in a store looking at a Bop mag and she asked my opinion on a guy. I told her and she said, "This is cool. I've always wanted a sister." Now that one pissed me off just a little but I got over it. My high school took it better than I thought. When I came out I was chased to the library one day by a bunch of taunts. About 75 girls and 30 boys marched into the library and took me out and marched ME up and down the hall once or twice with me in the middle. I've got a private army. Between my martial arts skills, half of the football team, my best friend Todd, BJ and Mikey I do NOT have to worry about a fight I can't handle.

I've been in four fights this year since I came out. The first one was one on one. The second was 2 on one. The third was 3 on one. Then when they realized I couldn't be taken down so easily they brought weapons in on it. (it was off school property though) I had four guys and each had a baseball bat. I took down two and Todd and BJ took down one apiece. Most of the community doesn't know yet so I really don't know how they will respond.

Anyway. My point is that not very many people have my advantages. If you really want to come out you need to sit down and weigh what it means to you and your means of support and protection. If they outweigh the risks then it is right for you. But make sure you can protect yourself if your ganged up on. Sorry this is so long. Adios!

Jay Adams


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