[oasis] [columns]

Jeremy John

October 1996

"What do you do when democracy fails you?
What do you do when minority means you?"

-- The Pretenders, "What Do You Do"

Where to begin... Well, this is my first column and I'm very excited about this! I'm Jeremy John, 21, and I attend college at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire. Also, check out Josh Puetz's column because he also attends UW-Eau Claire. No, I don't know him. It's just an amazing coincidence that we both write columns for Oasis and attend the same the college.

I am fairly "out" to most people in my life. When it comes to my sexual orientation, I have only rule. If anyone asks me if I'm gay -- I will not lie -- no matter what the consequences may be. Quite of few people have asked me if I am gay or not. They suspected I was because of my mannerisms and the way I talk. I wouldn't say I'm a "flaming queen." But, I do have the weak wrists and say, "you go grrrrrrl" a little too often. We are who we are!

Liberation Day for me was February 25, 1996. I came out to a friend on this date. Actually, she is also my hairdresser. A week later I came "out" to our mutual best friend. Mark, 34, is married and has two little girls. Mark had been my best friend for over a year. Well, a funny thing happened when I came "out" to him that day. He drops a bombshell on me. (I think you know where I going with this.) He comes out to me also. This was a complete and total shock to me. I didn't even believe him. Maybe I didn't want to believe him. Come on, he's been married for 11 years, has two daughters and is very straight acting. I never even for a second suspected that he was gay!

I guess there's a lot of people in Mark's boat. There are many support groups for married homosexuals across the country. You have to feel sorry for these people. Maybe, they were confused about their sexuality when they got married. Maybe, they married in order to portray a straight image to their families, friends and co-workers (a front). Or maybe, they thought they were straight, but after being married they realized that they actually gay.

Well, after Mark came out to me, he decided that he couldn't go on living a lie. He decided to tell his wife, parents, sister and friends. When he did that, his wife threw him out of the house. He moved in with me at my apartment. His parents "disowned" him. His sister stopped talking to him. All of his friends, except me, rejected him completely. There was so much hatred focused at him. Which is really sad -- no one should have to go through what he went through.

Since we came out at the same time, we can compare what reactions I got to me being gay. I sat down to tell my mother and she told me I was gay before I could tell her. What a surprise! Most people I told said they had suspected I was gay, but they felt it's something you don't ask. I got absolutely no negative reaction from my friends and family. Quite a difference from what Mark went through.

I got an interesting reaction from some of my straight male friends. They wanted to know if the reason why I came out to them is because I wanted to sleep with them. Not at all!!! I could never sleep with close friends. But, Mark thought differently about this subject. He came on to me real strong after we came out. I told him that I wouldn't because we're close friends and that would jeopardize our relationship. But, he still kept pursuing me. That was the beginning of the end of our friendship. He moved out of my apartment and I don't talk or see him anymore. Why would anyone want to jeopardize a close friendship for sex? It's beyond my comprehension.

Thanks for reading my column this month. Be sure to check out my column next month when I'll be writing about the gay bar experience. Stay safe till then.


[About the Author]

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