Mike Llewin

April 1997

Ironically, it was the cold, wet and miserably English October of last year that heralded the biggest change my life has ever witnessed. Yet it was not England, my one and only home, that was to be the stage for the internal changes which have rerouted my circuits faster than Data, the famous swift android, could ever manage.

It's a funny old life. I spend mine in four modes: sleep, school, going out, and sitting around using my computer. Before last October I'd spend all of my time absorbed in one or another mode, so much so that I'd never spend any serious time thinking. Which meant that, although I've known of my mainly gay sexuality from the tender age of twelve, I never really acknowledged it. At school I've had more crushes than there are letters in the word 'pandemonium' and yet it never really struck me that I could do anything about my sexuality other than hide the horn in the presence of various individuals!

Well October changed all that. I was sixteen and, at the time, hadn't been in love for twelve months -- so absorbed was I in my GCSEs! I'd almost managed to convince myself that since I wasn't falling for boys any more I could fall for girls instead. Wrong! However hard I had tried I hadn't loved any girls. And in October a school trip to Greece was in the cards. Little did I know that the trip would be awesome from the monument point of view but also awesome from the love point of view!

You see, as soon as we stepped off the plane I came face to face with the cutest boy I'd seen in a long time, let's just call him Jim for the moment! Jim, although younger than me, I found instantly attractive. He had a cute body and a very fun, if occasionally tiresome, personality. Well the more I spent time with him the more I fell for him. The holiday was only a week long but by the end of the week we were very close, a friendship that nobody else really understood since it seemed so unlikely! He claimed he was not gay, as did I, yet somehow I think we both knew…that we were both gay. Note that it's only opinion that makes me think he's gay!

Well I had more time to think than usual in Greece and, boy, did I do a lot of thinking. I decided to forget denying my sexuality to myself and promised that the next time I fell in love I'd fall in love with someone I knew was gay. Hehe, well, I've fulfilled the first promise! I'm a member of the local gay youth group here in Oxford and I've come out to family and most friends. The latter promise… I fell in love with another guy during the rehearsals for a play I was in a few weeks back. He turned out to be straight. Well, at least for the first time I asked out someone I was infatuated with! Even if I did get a rejection.

You're probably wondering where Oasis fits in here. I'm a big fan of the Internet and I'm continually amazed at how much difference it can make to people's lives. Now, including my own! I'd discovered soc.support.youth.gay-les-bi when I was 14 and had made a few gay friends then, but scarily I never really internally acknowledged my sexuality. If I'd discovered a publication like Oasis back then (of course Oasis has only been around for a year!) I could have come out in a very different way. As it stands Oasis has played a huge part in my coming to terms, and I read all issues cover to cover over the period of a few weeks when I discovered it, early in November!

You know I think it's hugely important that we never forget just how much difference Oasis does make. I've been to gay support groups, spent time in gay pubs, read soc.support.youth.gay-les-bi, talked endlessly to various gay people, but I've never had such positive experiences as I've had with Oasis! I think probably because the columns in Oasis give such a wonderfully fun and understandable view of sexuality they're very easy to identify with. Nowhere else have I found teenagers talking about their secret crushes and the silly little swings and flows of their daily lives. Yet when you get down to it that's what being human is all about!

And of course columns don't bite back or try and get you in bed with them or go off and talk to someone else. They're material for the reading. Easy reading.

So here I am. I got talking to Jeff about the article he's written for XY magazine about Wil Wheaton (one of my own former crushes!) and he suggested I write for the magazine. I couldn't possibly refuse! And if there's anyone out there reading this from Abingdon School, come talk to me, I'm a good listener, and believe me you can talk about anything to me. As many people have discovered.

The introduction's not finished yet! No doubt you'll want to know a little about me as an individual. My piccie should be at the top of the article so you can get a fair idea of what I look like. I'm a very scientifically minded person but actually really really enjoy the arts, writing, reading, singing, composing, they give me a channel for all those feelings I used to bottle up as a young teenager.

Music, oh yes! I'm a big fan of Vangelis now, thanks to Ash, a very dear friend of mine. If you haven't heard his song Aquatic Dance you won't know that he's a very sensual instrumental composer who arranges the most amazing musical textures, some of which are very sexy! I've also grown very fond of Mariah Carey and Sting, who I think has an amazing body/voice combination, and is really finding his own voice since his association with The Police. Some of his songs are so simple and yet convey so much emotion and feeling. Of course he's married with children -- just our luck! And a little old for me methinks.

I do a fair amount of acting too. I recently played an eccentric aristocrat in his fifties called Gayev in Chekov's 'Cherry Orchard', which was a great deal of fun, especially since by the end of the production almost the whole cast knew of my sexuality including of course the guy who I asked out! I haven't had one bad reaction to my sexuality yet, everyone is really supportive and understanding, which is really, really great. It's sad that nobody else in the school has come out, because it really makes you feel great about yourself. Don, a close friend of mine, commented just the other night that since coming out I've become far happier and a much more interesting person. All you closeted guys out there, get out! You might think it's hard or painful to do, but believe me, once you've lost the inhibition (which understandably arises from years of keeping sexuality to oneself), it's easy, and it gets easier with every new person you come out to. You'll also find you can start talking to girls about guys, which is immense fun!!

I want to direct a play if possible. I've two plays in mind, and I'm very torn between the two! The first is Another Country by Julian Mitchell, which is a snippet of life in a 1930's English public school (e.g. Eton), full of homosexuality, communism, and politics, which would be a fun and topical play to put on, since Lancaster School is itself a public school (much less homosexuality though!). It needs an all-male cast of about 10, which is quite modest, although I'm not sure many people would be prepared to put on a play with no girls in it. Heh, and you thought drama was about acting?!? The other play I'm considering is Alan Ayckbourn's 'Seasons Greetings' with a rather more balanced cast, which is all about how family and marital problems and brought to the fore when an attractive male novelist joins the usual crowd for Christmas. Wonderfully fun and wonderfully dramatic. Yet not as enticing as the first play. Suggestions for which I should do on an electronic postcard, please!

On to guytalk (gaytalk?). There's a really cute guy a couple of years younger than me who is drop-dead gorgeous. We don't get much opportunity to talk but he's always trying to sit next to me. Occasionally I catch him looking in my direction. Do you think he's trying to tell me something? As far as I know he's straight, he's certainly very physical when it comes to girls. He's just so beautiful, I find it difficult to keep my eyes off him. I've even written a story about him, tell me what you think. Am I a pervert?!? <g> A friend of mine says that he's probably not sure about his sexuality, as most people his age aren't sure, and is just experimenting. I guess he's saying 'kudos' (to coin a great phrase of Jay's, thanks Jay!) to all you guys and gals who are his age and are confident about their sexuality. I'll keep you informed.

Well I guess that just about wraps it up for this month. I don't want to write too much for a first column, you'd get bored! I won't finish with the standard words 'Until Next Month…' but I will say that if any of you out there want to write to me, about anything, whether it be about this article or anything else, do it. I enjoy reading mail, and I'll do my best to reply to all I receive. Thanks!

Hmm, I enjoyed that. Looking forward to next month!

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