November 1997

Last month I wrote about how my boyfriend's gay little brother had been causing a lot of problems at home, and recently he did something that almost turned into a tragedy.

David (not his real name) one evening got into a very serious fight with his parents over something and he went into his father's bedroom, found his gun and loaded it, and walked into the living room where the rest of his family was watching TV. He aimed the barrel at his chest and put his thumb on the trigger and just started screaming at his parents. . . I can't imagine what was going through their minds!

Apparently they kept trying to get the gun off of him but he told them that he'd pull the trigger if they tried to, so they stopped. He told them to call me up, that he didn't want to talk to them, that he'd only talk to me. He also made it clear that if anybody called the police he'd pull the trigger.

I'll never forget that call, it was just like a 911 call, only worse since it's something I'm not used to! His father was so scared that at first I couldn't understand what he was saying, but I knew that I had to go over there and try to calm David down.

David asked for me because I'm probably the only person that he feels he can trust and talk to openly, but I never thought that I would ever be asked to talk him out of a suicide attempt!

I made it to their house in record time, and I parked in front of their house so that David would be able to see that it was me and not the police. I walked into the front door and I doubt that I'll ever forget the scared expressions that each one of them had. David held the gun firm, but there was no way that I'd attempt to get it off of him!

I asked his parents to take the rest of the family members out on the porch and for them to stay out there until I let them know things were OK. . . I was as scared as they were, because I knew that if I said the wrong thing David would shoot himself in front of me, and he would probably die instantly because of how he aimed the gun.

As soon as his family was outside and the door was locked --David insisted on that -- I went back into the living room and he was sitting on the floor, the gun still aimed at his chest. He asked me if they were outside and if the door was locked and when I answered yes to both, he pulled the gun from his chest, unloaded it and slid it across the floor. I've never felt so relieved in my entire life as when he did that!

I didn't know what to say to him, so I started making small talk, until he was calm enough for me to ask what made him want to kill himself. I didn't know what to expect, a million possibilities ran through my mind: Did he do something really bad? Did he hurt somebody? Did he steal something? His answer was a shock:

He was in the bathroom masturbating and his mother barged in on him right at the moment when he had his very first ejaculation, and she went crazy!

Just think, a precious life was nearly snuffed out because of doing something that's considered normal! I could understand that he was embarrassed about what had happened, but there was more to this than I had thought.

David had been masturbating quite a lot the last few weeks, and several times his mother had caught him doing it and had made him feel really bad about doing it. Since his parents are deeply religious, they punished him for what he had done and kept reminding him of how sinful that was. To make matters worse, they would check up on him every time he was in the bathroom for more than a few minutes, and even went as far as discussing taking the door off the children's bathroom.

Now I understand why David's under so much tension! I don't think that he was serious about killing himself, but maybe he felt that he had to do something to get his parents off of his back? He needed me not so much to try to talk him out of killing himself but to try and talk his parents into giving him some space.

I saved a life that day, but I hope I never have to do that again!


Things are somewhat different in David's house now. His parents punished him severely for the gun incident, but now he has exclusive use of the bathroom in the basement, no questions asked. I've brought the subject up with his parents and they still insist that what he's doing is a horrible thing, but they'd rather have him do that than be dead. Old beliefs die hard, don't they?

His parents are now taking David to a psychologist once a week to help him deal with his feelings, and although he is reluctant to tell me what they discuss, he mentioned that he hasn't told the psychologist that he's gay yet. I'm not sure he will?

David's calmer now than he has been in a long time, which is a relief for everybody in that house. I've talked with him about the responsibilities that come with sexual maturity, and I bought him some condoms. I'm not sure that his parents would approve of that, but I know sooner or later he'll need them.

David is also not acting up as much as before, and he no longer tries to bring attention to his sexuality. He still has no doubts about being gay, but maybe he's more comfortable with it now? He's also dropped the idea of coming out at his school, yet he still frequently tells me how he wished it wasn't something that he had to keep secret all the time. So do many others, David!

The gun was sold the next day.

See you all next month!


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