David J. Emberton

June 1997

What should I say? How many ways can you ask yourself the same question, until you get a different answer? I am gay, that I know. What does that mean? I still do not know.

Life is a strange thing indeed. So full of extremes, so full of highs and lows that somehow balance out to create a middle ground. There are so many wonderful things in my life, and yet there are so many dark and terrible things. It is funny, is it not, how we are encouraged only to think about good things? Somehow it only makes the dark and terrible things seem that much worse.

Being gay is like that. People say, "I don't mind. As long as you are happy." Which, roughly translated means "I forgive you, as long as you don't mention it again." My favorite is "Each to his own. Just don't tell me about it." Which means, I'm homophobic, but clichés make me sound a little more human.

I first started to think that I was gay when I was 11. I vividly remember lying awake all night on Christmas Eve in 1989, sobbing quietly to myself. I suppose I really knew all the way back then, but the people around me helped prolong my denial for another six years. It was Boxing Day and I said to my sister, "do you ever worry that you might be homosexual?"

She said, "no, but don't worry. That kind of thing doesn't start to happen until you're older." Uh huh. Cool, I can stop worrying for a while, although the teasing and poor treatment continued. Actually, it never really stopped. That is why an intelligent and creative boy like me stopped going to school regularly. Sometime at the beginning of year 12, I gave up being the good guy. I was too tired of acting like nothing bothered me anymore. Therefore, for a variety of reasons I missed seven weeks of school in 1995. Still got straight A's, though.

I remember a period of six months when I despised myself so much that I became bulimic. For weeks on end, I would sleep for periods of 20 hours a day waking to gorge and then throw up in the shower. I spent months grappling with my sexuality, avoiding it, suppressing it, and ignoring it. Finally, I was ready to start accepting it.

It was not until I was an exchange student in the USA in '96 that I was strong enough to come out to myself. Alone in another country, the only person I had to rely on was me. That made me realize that I am a strong person. You cannot go through what you and I have gone through without being damn strong.

A good friend, J, was the first person I admitted my secret to in person. People on the net were great too. Now my parents and my friends know. Although I am not completely open, I am much happier and confident now that I can be gay without guilt. Gay without Guilt. It feels so good to write those words, and know that they finally apply to me.

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