Michael's Column

By Michael Sullivan
December 1995

Hello gay America!! My name is Michael Sullivan and I am a 25-year-old student at the University of Oklahoma. This first column is going to be a bit unfocused and rambling, but as all good things, it will get better with time.

I am very pleased to be a part of this unique enterprise on the web, and hope to continue to be involved in future issues. What I would like to speak my mind about today is life in the Midwest as a young gay person. Number one: it sucks completely. The only thing good I can say about my experience growing up gay here is that it did not kill me, and I feel it has made me stronger.

There are so few resources out there for someone struggling with issues related to their sexuality, and I hope this forum will lend a bit of hope to someone who is hating their self for being homosexual or bisexual. There is certainly nothing to hate about yourself for being gay...although it would seem otherwise.

I myself have gone from self loathing to fear to anger and all the way back again. I have done a lot of drugs, had a lot of sex with people I would rather forget, and I'm still here, still alive, and still negative (Thank God.)

Where I feel like I'm at now in life is at a place of deciding the future. It has taken me 8 years to get my B.A. and I feel somewhat guilty sometimes about that. When my co-workers wonder why I am interning in the publishing business instead of working full-time in it, I just tell them I took a lot of time off when I was younger to figure things out.

This is somewhat true, except that I leave out the parts about being gay and not knowing a damn thing about how to deal with myself as a person. This is just one example of the myriad of differences between the gay and straight worlds; that it takes longer to grow up than your average heterosexual.

I hate to place such emphasis on differences between us and the heteros, but that is what happens to be on my mind these days. I get angry that people naturally assume I prefer women. Angry that society does not recognize relationships I have as healthy or normal. Angry that my rights are not protected because I "choose" to be the way I am. So yes I am angry. Maybe even taking a lot for granted and being somewhat selfish.

But I never said I was perfect. Just gay. And just trying to deal with my life in the 90's in America. I obviously have a way to go, and appreciate the time you took to read how I feel. I look forward to writing more and welcome any responses or suggestions.

Michael Sullivan, 25, is a student at the University of Oklahoma. He can be reached online at M2sBRO@aol.com.
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