I suppose I should devote my first column to myself. So read my life story, and I hope you enjoy it, that's why it's here.
My name is Justin Lundsten, I am 16 years old and I live in the country of the Vikings, Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman and the Nobel Prize -- Sweden. My hometown is Gothenburg, on the west coast of Sweden -- and also the second largest city with 450,000 inhabitants. I suppose it's OK to live in Sweden, it's clean, there are many things to do, and it isn't so crowded. The weather is perfect too -- White snowy and cold winters, and hot wonderful summers. When I sit writing this, it's warm outside, the summer has just arrived here, and the summer holidays are just coming up.
In August, I will start year one on the three year long Gymnasium-education. I will read the civics program, with history, Swedish, English, German, Italian, Latin and Greek as the most important subjects. After that I hope to read at the University, and become something to do with psychology, linguistics or history. I haven't really decided yet. I am about 170 cm tall, blue eyes, brown hair and glasses. I like to write and to listen to music, preferably jazz and ethno-music.
I have been clear with my sexuality as long as I can remember. I can't say a date or a year when it "came to me" that I was gay. But it is only in the last few years that I have realized what it means. I slipped in to a depression and cried a lot. I didn't meet any new people, or went with my friends out or to parties. I isolated myself, living of my own egoism. I even thought of committing suicide! Then suddenly one day, I realized that I couldn't just lie in my bed cursing myself and who I was. It was who I was that scared me, and finally I saw just that. I wrote a desperate letter to the National Swedish Homosexual Association (RFSL, Riksförbundet för Sexuellt Likaberättigande), telling them that I needed to talk to someone. It was a pathetic letter really, but it was the only letter I could accomplish then. A few days later a wonderful letter from a guy my age came, and the following week he rung me. We talked for two hours! It was the most wonderful conversation I have ever had. I revealed myself entirely in a gigantic emotional enema, and it was great! We kept on ringing each other, and today we are good friends.
He inspired me to come out to people around me. But I regret I did it in such a cowardly way. The first one I came out for was my best friend (who is a girl). I wrote her a long letter telling her the truth about everything, that the facade she saw in school wasn't really me. She said she already knew, she only wanted to hear it from me. After that, I decided to drop the bomb on my parents. I wrote another letter (I couldn't make myself tell them eye to eye) and left it on the kitchen table before I left for school. The entire day I couldn't concentrate and a hollow stomach-ache tormented me. We had a long talk when I came home, where they told me that they wanted me to be happy, and fully accepted my homosexuality. I wonder why I was so nervous about telling my parents? I am after all their son, and they will always love me for who I am. This was to good to be true, but it was. Suddenly my life opened. I told four of my closest friends, of course they knew already. The only explanation I have for this is called "female intuition," well it was rather obvious if you looked at a deeper level. I had never had a girlfriend, and I often talked about homosexuality -- I sort of gave hints, unaware of what I was doing.
Then the unplanned happened -- now I think it was for the better. I went to my friend's apartment for a party. There was a lot of alcohol, and I drank quite a bit, becoming drunk. Suddenly I found myself sitting with two gorgeous boys and a female friend alone in the kitchen. I started to ask them what they thought about gays and homosexuality. After that I can't really recall what happened. At some point, though, I stumbled around in the apartment, hitting people, telling them I didn't like gay-jokes! (It causes a pain just remembering it). The next thing I know, I'm sitting locked on the toilet together with one of the gorgeous-looking boys, crying my eyes out and confessing that I was gay. He told me it was okay, he hugged me and told me it didn't matter, I was still the same person. In school the week after, he slipped me his private notebook with self-written poems. I must confess that I started to cry when I read the last poem -- it was about me. I can't say that there are any perfect human beings, but he is definitely the nearest you can get.
It is harder to tell boys, that's my opinion anyway. Maybe because I find it hard to relate to them. All my closest friends are girls. Boys always get shocked when you tell them, they don't suspect the same way as girls. And isn't it hard to tell a member of a gender that tells gay-jokes in the changing rooms at school? I suppose it is a way to protect their precious masculinity, but of course you get hurt, even if a sort of "gay-jokes numbness" occurs after a while. Another thing I have noticed, is that boys can't dare to ask you questions about homosexuality. Questions like "how long have you known?", or "is there anyone at school you like?" always reach you from a female friend, who the boy asked instead of you? Well, I guess it's another one of the protective reflexes. Mind you, all boys aren't like this, there are of course exceptions, and let us be happy about that!
Ah, well, after the party I just told everybody to spread the rumor around, I didn't really care. Now half the school knows, and I am feeling better than I have ever done. I feel that I can live out myself more (my friend even told me the other day that she thought I had become more feminine!), and I think it's wonderful!
I will end this column with a poem, written by one of my favorite poets; Sonja Åkesson (1926-77). The poem isn't available in English, so I have translated it in my own way (with other words, I have done the best I can)
AOCH, AOCH, AOCH, AOCH AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ
Dip dop anguishstop Hej hopp ångeststopp head down and stomach up huvudet ner och magsäcken opp fire in the breast burns brasan i bröstet brinner think you should dissapeare now hög tid att du försvinner think you should board the ship hög tid du ger på båten with your eternal anguishsong eviga jämmerlåten think you should go to hell hög tid du går to hell
Hey ride ride along Hej rida rida ranka think you should stop hitting hög tid du slutar banka think you should shut your mouth hög tid du håller trut blackheart with your scream svarthjärta med ditt tjut
Hey ride ride anguishstop Hej rida rida ångeststopp think you should set stop: stop dop! hög tid du sätter stopp: stopp hopp! time to say goodbye hög tid to say goodbye aoch, aoch, aoch, aoch aj, aj, aj, aj
Poem taken from the book "Hästens öga" 1977.