June 2001

Since this is my first column, I decided I would share a little bit about myself (as most people do in their first column I guess... how original of me!). My name is Rob, I am 19 and a freshman in college at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, majoring in music education. After years of reading Oasis and many, many months of putting off writing a column, I've finally done it! Whoo hoo! Yay me.

Umm, ok... back to the story

I was born and raised in Little-Hick-Town Pennsylvania, and now attend school in Another-Little-Hick-Town Pennsylvania. Like many of you, I started to notice that I was a little bit different than my peers at a fairly young age. One of the first instances that I remember was raiding my father's porn (straight porn, that is) stash and being particularly excited about this one story about two guys. This led to my first "experience" in about 8th grade. I still had not admitted to myself that I was gay; I was just "experimenting." Well, the experimenting went on for some time, and it worked out well since I was very religious then and of course homosexuality was considered evil by the church and whatnot. The way I saw it, "experimenting" wasn't mentioned in the Bible, so it must be okay! I had heard that usually kids go through a homosexual phase and then grew out of it. This was all well and good, except that the "growing out of it" thing that I was waiting for hadn't (and still hasn't of course) happened.

So, things went on until 9th grade when our family got a computer and the Internet. As I began poking around, I found several resources and found out a lot more about being gay and realizing that I was not the only one out there. Also, I kept developing crushes on boys in my classes. But I still wasn't ready to admit anything to myself yet. Nope. The good Christian Robbie was still just "experimenting." I was also still dating girls up until the middle of my 10th grade year. I met this guy online named (changed to protect the innocent) Tom who really changed all of this. Now Tom seemed like a great guy. He was a little older than me and told me that he was gay. He was home schooled and out to all of his family and friends. Tom and I decided to meet in person. The meeting didn't go TOO well, as I was very nervous, but it was then that I really realized that I was not alone and that "it was okay to be gay." So, I broke up with my girlfriend and things went on from there. Tom and I did not date or anything, (actually to twist the plot further, we found out that we were really distantly related!-just my luck on the first time) but our meeting began a whole new outlook on life for me.

Coming Out

Well, now that I was in fact admitting that I was gay, I needed to tell someone. As I mentioned before, I lived in a little hick town that was also very religious. So of course, being out at that age was not an option in my eyes. Finally I worked up the nerve to tell my best friend Jen. And, for being from the middle of nowhere, she took it really well. I just up and told her on the phone one day, and it really brought our friendship closer (as opposed to tearing it apart.

I still had to reconcile my homosexuality with my faith and stop caring so much what other people thought, but the positive experience I had in telling my friend about it was a springboard for all that was to come. If you are still in the closet or questioning, I HIGHLY recommend you tell someone about it. It can help so much!

Life in these days....

Now we can jump forward a few years. I am 19 years old and have just finished my first year here at Clarion. Since leaving High School I've gotten to know many wonderful people as well as more about myself. I am now out to all of my school friends and most of my friends back home. I have yet to tell my parents, but that challenge is probably my next. Looking back, I really wish that I had come out in High School if for nothing else than to make it easier for everyone who came through after me. I really had no idea how taxing it really was to live a double lifestyle.

And the best part of all!

I met Brendan in marching band camp (yes... band camp) He stood next to me in line. I remember checking out his butt. (he has the nicest butt in the world I swear... but anyway...) Well, push came to shove and we've now been together for nine months and it has been the most wonderful experience of my life. I have learned through my relationship with him and others that I should really be proud of who I am and see my "differences" as a virtue rather than something to hide and be ashamed of. After all, without differences the world would be a very boring place!

As far as reconciling my faith, I will leave that for another article. And I definitely don't care as much about what others think of me anymore, because I have found that I would much rather be disliked for who I am than have to be someone who I am not.

Anyway, that's the short version of my story. I will dive into an actual topic next month but I thought you might want to get to know me a little bit first! I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer and see you next month!

IM: cuchoirboy

PS, I would love hear comments/feedback/and from people-who-just-want-to-talk-about-absolutely-nothing-important

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