[oasis][columns]

Starting High School a Fresh Man

by Eric Wilcox
April 1996

Hello there Lesbigay youth. My name is Eric, and I'm gay. I'm a freshman at Case High School in Racine, Wisconsin. My story is not the happiest story in the world, nor is it depressing at all. I would like to hopefully encourage Lesbigay teens to be more proud of themselves and overall hold a position of pride rather than one of humility.

I know what an incredibly heterosexual world high school is. People say high school is the beginning of the best years in your life, but when I first entered this world I was a little apprehensive. Someone once estimated that one out of 10 people is gay, but I couldn't have even started to believe such a figure. This was a very hard position to rise above, but somehow I've managed to do it. I also think that I have had an effect in my school on the 'coming out' of teens about their sexuality, and this makes me feel very good. But let me tell you a little bit about how and why I came out.

I simply couldn't stand it anymore. I needed someone to talk to about gay matters, and no one seemed to be able to relate. Not only did I seem like the only one, but everyone seemed to know that I was gay even though I had told no one. Homophobes have this radar, you see, that seeks us out -- or so they think. This made me even more depressed. So in an attempt to gain support, I told a few of my closest and most understanding friends that I was gay. They were just that -- understanding. This was a huge step for me, and it really boosted my confidence.

With just these few people to talk to, I almost instantaneously became more sure of myself. I proudly walked around school instead of trying to fade into the crowd. Slowly, I came out to more and more people. If someone asked me if I was gay, (which happened quite often, in the beginning) I said "yes." (Even though after I told them that, people began NOT to believe me -- go figure) And that brings us to where I am now. Almost all of my close friends know that I'm gay, and everyone else has their own suspicions, and I like it that way. I proudly wear the rainbow on my backpack, not caring what people think.

As soon as all of this pressure was off me, I could act myself. I could have my "faggy" mannerisms and phrases. But here's where it really gets cool. Here I am, little Eric, just being a happy gay male. Now, though, I see more and more people begin to "come out." One by one, people begin to let the pressure off their shoulders and be themselves as well. And this is where I am now, watching person after person discover themselves in this world of self-discovery. I like to think that I caused some of these people to accept themselves, or gave them a little confidence.

Don't get me wrong, my school is still very heterosexual, I still get teased/harassed, not everyone is open about their sexuality, but I have seen a little bit of relaxation towards homosexuals, and that makes my whole life a little easier.


Eric Wilcox is a freshman at Case High school in Racine, Wisconsin. He is currently trying to start gay/bi youth activitesa and groups there. He is an artist, poet, writer, and he's in the school band as 1st trombone. He is very enthusiastic about helping other youth his age who are gay/questioning. He can be reached online at Eric@oasismag.com.
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