[oasis]

[columns]


Ty

February 1998

Tolerance

This month I'm going to start by discussing tolerance, something I often see lacking within the "gay" world. . . and tragically, within Oasis.

What am I talking about? Well, it seems that every month there's a column (or a part of one) that's devoted to shooting me down ... is this a new Oasis rule? Last month, Aztec took the honors and spent almost all of his column putting me down, although a few things were written somewhat out of context. This is nothing new, I think that's happened since my first column was printed back last summer, and I've even written about this.

I'll say this much, it's getting old being put on trial each month, especially since I'm the only writer that is ever dumped on, but that won't stop me from writing! However, I'd prefer to use my column to discuss my life as a gay teen, not defend it.

I'm going to explain a few things that were brought up in Aztec's column, and maybe (I doubt it) everyone will understand my life a little bit better?

Why don't I talk about school?

Well, number one, I spent around 50+ hours a week altogether at school, doing homework, participating in school activities, and going to and from there. I spend more time doing school related things than anything else. Ever stop to think that maybe it's not my favorite thing??? My Dad works 50-60 hours a week sometimes and I've learned not to ask him about his job because he doesn't like it much. . . the same applies to me (sometimes).

Number two, it seems like all that almost anyone at my school cares about is sports, which is NOT my favorite thing. Gym bores me to tears, just like soccer did this past season. I like to mountain bike and skate, but team sports are a total snooze to me. Personally, I think a lot of so-called "professional" athletes are overpaid idiots!

Finally, number three. Has anyone bothered to consider that maybe I don't want people to know who I am? If I mention stuff about my school, there's a chance that a classmate may figure out who I am, and that's not a risk I'm willing to take. Sorry. The longer I attend this school the more I see just how homophobic my teachers and classmates are, and it makes me want to hide my sexuality even deeper. I'm not going to come out at my school and be the sacrificial lamb for the gay cause, especially not for one that sure doesn't support me.

I never hear a negative comment on homosexuality from anyone?

Really?

I hear negative stuff about gays every single day I'm at school, although so far I've haven't had too many directed at me, and when they are its been done in a joking way. . . when that happens I say to myself "If they only knew!". When the other guys talk about last night's ball game I hear stuff like "He played like a faggot" or "That homo couldn't catch a pass if his life depended on it!", and I cringe inside. I am willing to bet my life that there are gays playing "professional" sports, but maybe they are the smart ones because they keep it a secret? How would you feel if you heard a coach you respected (notice the past tense here) tell your team "We can beat these fruitcakes" before a game?

Sure makes you want to play your heart out, eh?

One place I never hear negative things about gays from is my family, and you'd better believe me when I say that I count my blessings everyday for that, because I know how fortunate I am! If that tolerance existed universally, suicides among gays would probably be almost unheard of.

My parents are probably the most tolerant (there's that word again) people I've ever known, and as they've told me time and time again, they'd rather have me be open to them about my life than go sneaking around. I'm blessed that I have parents I can be open to, because I know that not all of us are so fortunate. If I ever have kids I hope I'm the same way, because I'd feel pretty bad if I found out that someone so close to me didn't think they could trust me.

Some people can't accept that I'm sexually active, and that my parents know I am. . . well, what do you want? A video of Eric and I making love? I've actually had sickos ask me to make them one! I hate to break it to you all, but a prepubescent boy is capable of having sex! I should know!

My parents have given my brother and I the facts about sex and have always been open with us about it, and I am totally aware of what's involved. I have a steady boyfriend and practice safer sex, which is more than can be said for some members of the gay community (barebackers). Deep down I think my parents (and Eric's too for that matter) would prefer us not to be sexually active, but what's done is done.

It may seem like my life is pretty good -- in many ways it is -- but I have my bad days like anybody else, and lately there seems to be more of them. Sometimes I wish I knew where my Dad hides the key to his gun safe so that I could go and shoot myself and end the agony, but one of the things that keeps me going is that I know I'm not alone, and by writing this column and sharing the most personal things in my life, I letting others know the same. I think about ending it all every day, but because of Oasis I survive.

Then again, if I ever did find the key and went through with it, you'd all have the verification you need about me. . . maybe my obituary would be posted. . . maybe someone would write about my "tragic" suicide in their column instead of damning me. . . maybe one of you would visit my grave and realize that I've been telling the truth all along? Hey, I could even end up being a "Cover" story!

Oasis keeps me alive.

I have had eleven-year-old's write to me for advice, and they've told me that the things I've shared in my columns have helped them, and in one case has helped keep him alive. . . so don't think that I'm not aware of readers younger than me! I even have adults write to me saying how I helped them make sense of their lives. . . what can I say? I've seen how far reaching Oasis can be, and after all, isn't that the whole point of all of this?

I find it amazing that anyone would criticize the clarity of my writing, especially since I spend quite a bit of time working on my column. . . in fact, as soon as each one is completed I start the next. I put the same amount of care and effort into this column as I do with my schoolwork, and I have good grades to show for that. How awful, a kid that actually cares about something!

Here's a thought for all of you: In the survey that was posted a few months ago here, the youngest responder was a ten-year-old. . . what if he wrote a column? Would everyone gather around and dump on him too? A ten-year-old that thinks he's gay!!! How impossible! Well, I was experimenting with other guys at that age, and I'm sure I'm not the only one out there that ever has! I knew I was gay at a early age and so did my brother, but we're just dumb kids right? What do we know?

I'll tell you what we know: We are the future, and maybe we will be the generation that will finally make gays accepted and tolerated (there's that word again) by society as a whole? When I become an adult I may become a gay activist, or maybe I'll just give up and disappear into the woodwork? Who knows? One thing for certain is that I'm not going to just sit back and let people walk all over me because they think that a guy my age can't do anything! I'm speaking out, not just for myself, but for those younger guys that can't. . . and maybe I'll be able to provide for them the hope they need to make it through each day?

Then again, if a thirteen-year-old can't possible know he's gay, can't engage in sex with another guy his age, and can't write a column discussing his life, then a thirteen-year-old sure as Hell can't commit suicide because he's gay, right?

We all know the answer to that one.

I'll be back!

Ty

P.S. -- I just turned 14 in December... I sure have learned a lot this past year!


[About the Author]


©1998 Oasis Magazine. All Rights Reserved.