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Josh Puetz

January 1997


Thank you for hearing me Thank you for loving me Thank you for seeing me And for not leaving me -Sinead O'Connor, Thank You For Hearing Me

Happy New Year everyone! Like most people, I tend to look back upon my life around this time of year and evaluate my life and how much I've grown in the past year. Of course, that is assuming that I have grown in the past year.

Yeah, I guess I have grown in the past year. I've come to terms with my sexuality, for better or for worse. I don't mean that to sound negative; it's just that I'm neutral on the subject. I can remember I time a few months ago when I would have been anxious to admit that I was gay to a chat room full of strangers on the Internet. Somehow, it seems completely logical to this paranoid mind that someone could read those words, track down my identity, and expose me to all of my friends and family. Now that I'm out to my friends and family, I'm a lot more confident and secure.

That brings me to my next point. It's a little ironic that while a few months ago I was afraid to tell anyone that I was gay, today I am writing this column with is (hopefully) being read by hundreds and thousands of people worldwide. That's quite a change for a guy that couldn't even admit to his image in the mirror that he was gay a year ago.

I saw the movie "Jeffrey" last week, and it really got me thinking. I have never really thought much about AIDS, but now that I have had a chance to think about it, I'm really scared. It would be nice to have an evolved, socially conscious reason to fear the disease, but the simple fact is that I just don't want to die. It really frightens me to know that my actions in a split second could take my life of the life of somebody else.

Anyway, speaking of "Jeffrey," I couldn't help thinking about the state of gay cinema while I was watching it. The movie was pretty well done, but it still bothers me that a good majority of films about gay issues of characters seem almost required by Hollywood to include AIDS in the plot. Wouldn't it be nice to just once watch the story of two men or two women falling in love and living happily after ever, like some sort of gay romantic comedy?

Well, maybe mainstream America isn't ready yet for a gay romantic comedy. Such a film, when made, would show homosexual relationships in a positive light. If you think about it, most gay relationships on screen are neatly avoided. Maybe once the media starts reflecting the diversity found in real life, the opinions of mainstream America will catch up.

In happier news, I am now officially dating. It's a very new and strange sensation for me, but it makes me feel relieved. For a long time, I thought that not dating when I was a teenager would warp me somehow. I have never really been in a relationship; I was starting to wonder if I would ever be in one and if I could handle myself in one.

I am writing this column on my twentieth birthday, and I'm feeling more nostalgic than ever. Birthdays have always been an important time for me to look back, just as the new year season is. Happy New Year.

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