January 1998


"A closed mind is a wonderful thing to lose" -- bumper sticker

First, I'd like to start by thanking everyone who has emailed me about my article in my school newspaper; I've never received so much mail before. I tried to write back to everyone, with at least a thank-you for writing; if I missed you, sorry, write me again and yell at me.

The article received the reaction that I expected, more or less: a bigoted reaction by most, but a few were supportive. The paper was scheduled to come out on Tuesday, but no one brought the papers down to lunch, so the students got them Wednesday. However, the teachers still had their own copies on Tuesday, so a few kids found out about the article on Tuesday that way; but, also, my health teacher (she doesn't know that I'm "James") pointed out the article to ALL her classes, so at least 1/4 of the school found out early that way.

That Tuesday in English, a bunch of kids had been talking about the article before class, and I guess my teacher, Lucifer, picked up on it. I have one kid in my class whose first name is James, but everyone calls him Jim. Anyway, my teacher called on him to answer a question: "[insert question here], 'James.' " I couldn't believe that a TEACHER was doing this! What a wonderful world we live in!

Then, the paper came out (hmm, interesting way of putting it) the next day at lunch. I went down to lunch a little late, because, I'll be honest, I was a bit frightened about what the exact reaction would be. When I finally did go down, there was not one copy of the paper that I didn't see that wasn't open to page three. Everyone was reading it and talking about it, which was part of my reason for writing the article: to get the students and teachers and parents talking about the subject.

A few people have personally asked me if I am "James" and I've told them no. But the majority of people don't seem to have the courage to be seen talking to the presumed gay kid of my high school, and so have asked my friends; even my friends who I'm not out to, have said no.

There were five articles that turned into the newspaper in response to my article. All five are good, supportive articles. My friend "Mary" wrote one; "Mary's" pseudo-boyfriend wrote one (I'm out to him), too. The three others were also written by three of my friends who I am not out to. One is a freshman who actually signed his name to his article; I tried to warn him that he is going to get a lot of harassment for the article, but he said that he doesn't care. The title of his article is "[my school] Students: Bigoted Blue-Collar Bigots?" I can only imagine the reaction his article will receive; I only hope that he doesn't get himself seriously hurt in any way, because, unfortunately, he is now also going to be assumed gay, and since the bigots have a name to go along with the article, they are going to cause him a lot of trouble. Why must he be so naive as to the ways of the world?

So, there have been repercussions, but none that I didn't anticipate. I've had support from those who know, and even those who don't know, but that don't think it fair that everyone just assumes that I'm "James," without bothering to ask me. Hopefully, it will all turn out for the better,



[About the Author]


©1998 Oasis Magazine. All Rights Reserved.