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Melissa Gurley

June 1997

Come out, Come out, wherever you are!

Who changed the rules to hide-n-go-seek?
Who thought the game needed to change?
Who changed the rules to hide-n-go-seek?
Who made the closet a cage?
-- MNG

Did you ever play hide-n-go-seek? Sure you did, didn't you? We have all hidden in that dusty closet beneath the basement stairs used to store the winter clothes. And what unfortunate child has not had the experience of the door being locked? I remember a time a grade school friend and I played such a game. Of course, I heard her say at the top of her voice, "Come out, come out! Wherever you are?"

I waited a few seconds, imagining her terrified thoughts that a monster, who truly lived in some dark corner of the house, carried me away and was preparing me for his sinister meal. For the third time she called, "Come out, come out! Wherever you are!" Her voice was beginning to show irritation, so I thought it would be a good time to come out of the closet.

I tried. I tried again. The door was stuck.

Suddenly, the closet seemed to be getting smaller and smaller, as I vainly tried to twist the knob and push the door open. Being the excitable youth that I was, I began to cry helplessly and sat on the dirty floor fully believing that I was going to die alone in that terrible closet. Was it just me or did I hear that monster scratching on the other side of the wall?

Don't worry! Her mom came downstairs and was able to unstick the stubborn door, although I must say that I never voluntarily entered another closet. Even now, I am struggling to unlock the proverbial closet door, and I am having a lot of trouble.

It is true, now, that I have stopped using the phrase "don't tell anyone," and I have not lied to anyone in the last month who asked the dreaded question. I even had my first hateful comment directed personally to me. An idiot at school came up to me and said, "Stay away from me. You're sick. There is no place in the world for homosexuals!" As much as I wanted to say "Sorry, but I'm a lesbian," I thought better to respond "Guess what," looking around me as if trying to figure something out, "I'm here."

I hate being in the closet. I hate feeling like I'm a liar, and I am determined to open that door if I have to break it down with an ax. But I of all people know that it is not as easy as saying "Hi, I'm gay."

There was a time when I was so shy that I would go through an entire day at school without saying one word. On the rare occasions when I spoke, it was to a teacher or another person that demanded a response from me. I thought it was easier than dealing with people, but I was very lonely. Now that I have had a taste of friendship, conversing with other people (I never had a problem when it came to discussing things with animals), and even speaking in front of a group of people, I don't know if I could ever go back to that lonely quiet life. It seems such a shame that although I am no longer terrified of people that I should feel terrified to tell them an important piece of information concerning who I am.

I'm gay, and I like being gay. I'm not a freak, or a pervert. I don't want to be a man, and there is no brain damage or sickness that makes me like women. I like being a woman, and I love liking women. I am sick and tired of putting on a straight face around people who have already heard a rumor or even the truth about me. There is nothing wrong with me. I want to be done with giving little clues and making little comments. There will always be people who think I'm evil, but I don't have anything to do with them so why bother. I should just buy a T-shirt and be done with it, right?

No.

For some reason, it is not that easy. The world can't accept me as easily as I can accept myself. I want to be able to live a happy life with another woman. Nothing in me wants to do anything out of the ordinary. I want to find a wonderful woman, have a wedding in a church, maybe adopt a child, become a published author, and live happily ever after. Not only is that unrealistic for a straight person, I have society working against me as well.

Instead of coming out to the world and wearing an obvious T-shirt, I have to be content with listening to a Melissa Etheridge CD and writing a column for Oasis.

But then again, I have never really been one to listen to everything I'm told. If I was, I wouldn't be a lesbian now, would I? Guess what world? I'm gay!

There. Now, everyone who reads this knows. I have told most of my friends, there are only a few million left to go. Tell me I'm not off to a good start.

Just kidding, I'm not going to advertise. Understand me when I say that I am not going to lie anymore. There are only three people on the planet that I don't want to know; and everyone else can't really do anything. Those three people will know eventually; but not until I am totally established in a life without them. But I will do my best to live my life honestly, I'm not going to hide anything, because I have nothing to hide.

So move over world, here I come!


O.K. My "Ellen" invoked outing rampage is over. Here is a little personal note for anyone out there who really cares. I only have two weeks left in high school. I will have to start acting like an adult. For the first time in my life, I am acting like a teenager just because I have to grow up!

Good point to that: I start college in September, and I can start acting like an immature college student. I will be going to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Our bird was put to sleep today, which proves to you that I waited until the last minute to finish this and send it in (can you ever forgive me?). My father has been saddened by the ordeal. I think I could be more sensitive to her death if he wasn't so upset. The cold heartless b---- in me thinks that it is a little hypocritical of him to feel "like a murderer" for putting her to sleep as he eats a piece of charred flesh. (Not only am I a lesbian; I'm also a vegetarian)

Finally, this gay teenager would like some correspondence. Let me know that this is not some cosmic hoax and send me some e-mail. My address is melissa@wi.net.

March gaily onward and smile really big.


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