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October 1996

6:30 p.m., Monday the 23rd of September.

Well, here goes...

My name is Dan, and I live in the suburbs of Toronto, Canada. I'm 16 and I'm in grade eleven. I love to read, I love music, and I love IRC. And of course, I'm gay.

It's amazing how much one word, comprised of three measly letters, can mean. One word, and your entire life is turned upside down.

Right now I'm in the middle of 'coming out.' And by that I mean 'I'm secure enough to be able to tell people I'm gay, but still insecure enough to fear their reactions.' I guess that fear never goes away, you just learn to live with it. But for now, I have to deal with that fear.

Only a few people know I'm gay, and all of them have been very accepting. I guess the first person I told was a friend of mine, and that was pretty easy...mainly because I came out to him over IRC (yay IRC!), and partly because he's gay himself.

For the most part, coming out to friends was pretty easy...but having said that, I've really only chipped the tip of the iceberg, I have a long ways to go before I've told all my friends. Yikes...I get shivers just thinking about that...

I think the most difficult time I had with telling people was with my mother. You see, I didn't actually come out to my mother, she confronted me.

Being the rather naive and trusting sort, I figured that my mother wouldn't read my email. I thought that she'd leave it alone if I left it in my mailbox. Well, I was wrong.

On an overcast Tuesday morning in the miserable month of April, my mother cornered me in the downstairs powder room while I was blow drying my hair. It seemed she had been checking her email, when she accidentally opened the wrong mailbox, and accidentally opened a few emails, and accidentally read all the way through them. One hell of an accident if you ask me...

Anyway, the emails were from a friend of mine off of IRC (he's also gay), and in the course of the email it pretty much outlined my sexual preference, and she pretty much read it, and I pretty much died when she told me she had.

So, basically she knows I'm gay...but does that mean she's willing to accept it? No. Case in point: This weekend.

There's a conference in October, in Toronto, called 'Other Young Lives 2'. It's a conference, hosted by the Provincial Government of Ontario, for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual teens. An ex-teacher from my school recommended I go. He thought it would be good for me...and I agreed.

I got the brochure and the registration form, and approached my mother about it. I really don't need parental consent to go, but I thought it was a good idea, since she would end up being my transportation. But when I talked with her about it, she had the most horrid look on her face, it was as though I had ambushed her with my sexuality (it was all I could do to stifle a laugh) but in the end she agreed to think about it. I filled out the form (it was due the next day) and handed it in.

So Sunday rolls around (two days after our little 'talk') and she approaches me on the computer saying that she's thought the conference 'thing' over and that she didn't think it was a good idea. I got really mad that she was balking at the idea of letting me go to it for the sole reason that it was a 'gay event.' I guess maybe by me going to it, it somehow proves that I'm gay. She made up all sorts of stupid excuses (they all had some merit, but they weren't the real reasons). Anyway, I got really agitated and the whole 'talk' ended with me furious, and insisting that I was going to go. She finally gave up, and I have the feeling that she's going to try her hardest to prevent me from going.

I really want to go.

Just out of curiosity...how many of you have had similar 'tête-à-têtes' with your parents? Do they eventually get the 'point' that your gay, and that it's not a phase? And you know what? Even if you have nothing to say about the above two questions, email me anyway, at least that way I'll be comforted in the knowledge that people are actually reading this.

Well I'm done now. 768 words later, my debut column is done. Oops...now it's 778 words...779 now...Oops 781. OK. Forget it. I'll just stop now.

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