[oasis][columns]

by Eric Wilcox
June 1996

Hello again to all of my wonderful readers. Again, last month, my mailbox was full of flattering replies -- This makes me feel great! I thank every one of you that took the time to write a letter to little 'ol me!

This past month has been very interesting for me. I've been looking further into the possibilities of starting a gay/lesbian/bisexual group at my high school, and I even have someone who would like to write a book on my efforts. It looks as though I have definitely enough public interest to start such a group-- so I'm planning on early next school year.

The reason why I feel so compelled to start such a group is this. As of late, I have not yet come out to my family. Therefore, my total center for true self-expression is at my school. When I go to school, I don't have to worry about things I say or do. This is not to imply that I do not have a loving, caring family -- I do. But I simply have too much to deal with at the moment without having to deal with coming out to my family -- and to be honest, I'm a little scared.

But for me, school is a place where I can be myself and not worry about what people think. I would like school to mean the same to others like me. I want others to know that they are accepted also. That is why I want to try and let the people of my city know that they are not alone.

I suppose that there are many pros and cons of such a group. Let's start with the cons (oh boy!). First of all, being a leader of this group would pretty much mean coming out to the ENTIRE school. Now, in my school it is pretty common knowledge that I am gay already. But if I started this group and got a lot of attention, it could cause people that do not know me to seek me out. I suppose I would get more flack than ever before. But I can deal with that -- no problem at all.

Other cons would be the recruitment process. It probably would be very hard to recruit people for such a group. People may perceive this as coming out to the school. One of my targets for this group are closeted Lesbigay youth, and they would not be attracted to such a group. I would probably have to extend this group to encompass gay and straight youth; I'd probably get more participation that way.

But now the best part -- the pros. It would be a great way for the Lesbigay community in the school to unite and talk about issues that really pertained to them. Being gay or bisexual doesn't mean you have to feel lonely or alone. Such a group could provide certain individuals with a feeling of community, even if they never attend one meeting.

It would also allow us to get to know each other. One of the biggest part of high school life is relationships with one's significant other. If everyone knows each other, people could develop relationships on both a true friendship level and possibly on a romantic level. This is not to say that this program would be "The Dating Game", but it would allow us to meet many interesting people.

And finally, this group could work to educate the students. Just the other day I heard someone say that a person was "gay or bi" simply because he had a haircut similar to another bisexual's. If we can educate our students, the fear of homosexuals could greatly be reduced. Homophobia is present as it is, and we could help contribute to its decline.

We'll have to wait and see how it goes. I plan to develop a whole curriculum during this summer, and have it ready for early next school year.

If anybody has any stories about coming out in high school or about being involved with an organization similar to that of which I am trying to start, please E-mail me!


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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