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Justin Lundsten

November 1997

Sensation syndrome

On the 18th of August, I started in a new school. Before that, I had attended the same school for 9 years. The Swedish school system is a bit different than that in the States. You begin to study when you are 6 or 7 (It depends on if you are judged fit for school). Now the period called "Grundskolan" begins. It is a compulsory nine years in school. After that, you are free to do what you want, or attend the 3-year long voluntary gymnasium-education, a higher education that either prepares you for higher studies, or educates you into a specific profession. Although Gymnasium is voluntary, everybody knows it is very hard, if not impossible to find work without the education.

The Gymnasium is divided into a number of different Educational Programs. Some programs prepares you for university studies, and other educates you into a specific line of profession, such like the Construction program or the Industry program. I attend the Social knowledge program, that stresses the social studies, history and language subjects. I will be starting university when I am 18/19.

I am sorry if the tour of the Swedish school has bored you, but I will now come to the subject. So, I have started Gymnasium. I "came out" in the last year at my old school, and I could graduate before everybody knew, before people started to talk behind my back. Now, it's the other way around. Seven weeks into the school year, and more and more people know. The fact has started to get to me.

I hear people talking about me, at a distance where I can hear what's being said. Last time I had Physical Education, a guy wore shorts into the showers! I don't know if it was because of me, but it was pretty obvious. When me and my friend walked from our bus to catch the tram, a couple of weeks ago, all the people from school were standing there as usual. I see a guy talking to "his group" of people. Suddenly he sees me, he lean in to his group, and says something. The people turned their heads and examined me with their eyes, as I was some sort of freak! It was actually very creepy.

Have I been to blue-eyed, to naive to understand that my sexual preference isn't all that simple to cope with by other people? Have I overestimated the tolerance of homosexuals in today's society? I feel like I have fooled myself. I know that people have a hard time with gays, why then do I get so shocked and blown of my feet by this?

It is if like everything has turned upside down. From the safe understanding circle of friends in my old school, to a hostile, mocking mass of unpersonal people at my new school. I desperately try to grasp some sort of integrity, but it feels like I'm sinking into a repulsive heap of evil, misunderstanding and agony.

I have talked to the school psychologist, and she says that it must be some sort of "sensation-syndrome". There aren't many 16-year-old out gays, and the fact that there is someone creates some sort of hysteria. So am I sensation? I want to live my life calmly. I have chosen to come out because it felt like I could live an easier life, according to myself and my feelings. To be completely out, of course, means that everyone, even people you dislike, knows about you. I have prepared me for this, but still I get hurt. Am I a weak human being? Should I take more of this psychological torture?

Well, right now I feel like the biggest blue-eyed idiot there is.

Until next time,

Justin

As usual, feel free to email me at heather.lundsten@goteborg.mail.telia.com


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