November 1997

My Secret Identity

I use this term because it's an accurate description of my sexuality, or better yet, how I deal with it. I'm a bisexual, yet I keep that part of me hidden. Like a secret agent, I lead a double life, yet few would ever suspect that.

I'm sure there are others like me, those that go to a bookstore and read gay/lesbian oriented material while keeping one eye open to anyone that may be observing you. . . especially someone that may know you. You feel like a criminal for doing something as innocuous as looking at a copy of XY. Sounds strange to feel like that, doesn't it? Has anyone ever purchased a gay magazine along with several other unrelated ones to somehow "disguise" the fact that you're buying something aimed at gays? Just like a teenaged boy buying condoms and a bunch of candy bars as a cover -- sounds silly, but how many of us have done the same thing?

This is me.

I feel at times like I'm doing some horrible act every time I go and read a gay book or magazine, I even had a elderly woman say "Shame on you!" when she saw me looking at a copy of OUT magazine recently. Maybe this has something to do with the fact that I live in a conservative part of the nation, but I suppose this goes on elsewhere.

I recently went to an adult bookstore quite a distance from where I live and bought a gay video and a few magazines, and the clerk let out a laugh when he saw what I was buying. I'm not too surprised, but has anyone ever heard of maturity?

The same thing applies to other purchases. I remember a few years back standing in line at a grocery store and the person in front of me was an obviously nervous boy of about twelve buying a pack of condoms. The cashier was a woman in her thirties and she asked him what he was going to do with them!!! I think the fellow was so mortified that he was about to start crying! Was that necessary? I don't know what he was going to do with them, but does it matter? I used to be a cashier at a store and whenever anyone bought condoms --especially a young teenager -- I just acted like they were buying a bottle of soda. Why make it hard on them, especially for doing something that may very well save their life?

In Australia, some schools give preteen boys smaller sized condoms, the idea being that they will try them on and learn how to use them, and then they will use them when it comes time to have sex because it's something they are used to. What's the chance of something like that happening in America? Remember the outrage when the former Surgeon General suggested that masturbation be taught in schools? How awful, teaching children about something they probably already do anyway! Oh no, you can't remove the shame from something that could very well lower the teenage birth rate and slow the spread of AIDS! The Dutch not only teach their children from an early age about sex, but also make birth control readily available. . . and guess who has one of the lowest birth rates among teens? While our leaders want to see similar results, they are also afraid of controversial topics like masturbation because the Religious Right will freak out. Instead they discuss abstinence, which isn't a bad thing, but that doesn't give an outlet for the sexual desire that teens have. Telling someone not to do something is almost encouragement for them to do it!


[About the Author]

©1997 Oasis Magazine. All Rights Reserved.