I could be your son...

Anonymous Commentary

I am a 17-year-old gay male. When people complain about "those gays" being pushed by "adults" for their "own secret agenda," I laugh.

I have attempted suicide more than four times. I'm currently seeing a professional to help me deal with American (Utah even more so) society's ignorance on the issue.

This loneliness, this depression, these thoughts of suicide -- where are they coming from? I am attracted to males. I've tried, many times, desperately, to change myself. I've dated females, I've read the Bible, I've prayed, I've gone to church, I've sought help through several psychiatrists and psychologists. The two psychiatrists told me that in order for me to ever live a happy life, I need to get over society's hate and misunderstanding. The two psychologists told me I need to understand myself and be happy with myself, which means not letting those around me drive me to suicide and pain.

I could very well be your son. I suppose that frightens you. It frightens me. I only ask you (assuming you are heterosexual) to try to "choose to be lesbian or gay." I ask you why I would ever choose to be attracted to males. Why I would choose to go through four years of intense psychotherapy, depression and suicide because I didn't fit in.

I am told I am wrong, evil, trying to "recruit" others to my lifestyle. I would not wish this on anyone, ever. I don't know how one could possibly understand how much pain you put me through by saying those things.

I've volunteered to help handicapped children. I was getting good grades. I was raised with a loving mother and father. I didn't know what the word "gay" meant. I did know, however, that I was different and I hated myself (still do in many ways) for it.

I'm not asking for special rights, not equal rights, just tolerance. I can understand people being against same-sex marriage. I can understand people being against homosexuality in general. But I only ask you to say, "OK, I'm not going to bash you at the dinner table. I'm not going to call you a faggot. I'll keep it to myself."

Maybe then I would not have to cry myself to sleep because people think I'm out recruiting others, I'm being led by a group of adults and that I'm sick and wrong for loving another guy. Loving.

Clinton, Utah

[This letter ran in the Salt Lake Tribune, Utah, on Aug. 13. Reprinted without permission, but I doubt the author would mind.]
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