Before I start with my column this month, there are a few things I need to discuss briefly.
First, I'd like to thank everyone for all the positive support that they have given me during the past few months concerning my columns and my identity. . . I don't like being called a liar, and it is great to know that there are many people behind me -- that in itself gives me the courage to continue on as a columnist! I'd especially like to thank Taylor for devoting his entire column to me last month, he's been a great friend and confidant to me over the past few years, and I am forever grateful to him. I think everyone should read his columns, as they are rather unique!
Extra special kudos to Jeff for putting up with all of this and being forced to play referee, which I'm sure he'd rather not do!
Number two, I mistakenly gave the impression last month that I am considering suicide, but nothing could be further from the truth. I made that reference just to show people who seem to think that kids are incapable of doing anything that indeed we are very capable of many things, even taking our lives. Gay teens have a higher that average suicide rate, and more must be done to prevent these tragedies. I apologize to anyone who felt that I am considering suicide, and I assure all of you that that thought hasn't crossed me mind.
Okay, on with my column.
Eighth grade is an important milestone in the journey through school, one that marks the end of childhood in many ways and denotes the beginning of young adulthood. At the end of this grade many schools have a graduation ceremony to mark this closure and to celebrate the beginning of the high school years, the time when decisions will be made that will ultimately affect your entire life.
For most eighth graders in public schools the decision about which high school you will attend is pretty simple, but for those at prep schools like me there's much more involved. Where we go for high school will have some impact on which college we attend so it's not such a simple decision. There are families where generations have attended a particular prep school, and carrying on that tradition becomes vital.
While a large percentage of my classmates will return to my school as freshmen, there are those who will be moving on to other schools, and our tight knit class will lose something special that cannot be replaced. I'm sure that there will be new faces among us freshmen this coming fall but I can't help but feel the loss of those departing.
One such person who won't be at my school in September is my closest school friend Christian, he was accepted at a very well known New England prep school -- one that I would give my eye teeth to attend! While I truly am happy for him, in some ways I'm hurt that he will be leaving. He was the first person I met when I starting going to this school and he was the one who showed me the ropes here. We've become soulmates of sorts, similar to my relationship with my boyfriend Eric only without the sex. . . well, we've hugged a few times, but that's not sex. When he told me that he was leaving I nearly started to cry in front of him, but somehow I held off until I got home.
I'm going to miss him and everything about him that is so special. . . the smile on his face every morning when we chat before class. . . his witty sense of humor. . . our discussions of the things so important to us. I know that we'll always be friends, but it just won't be the same. I've been debating with myself about whether or not to tell him that I'm gay for a long time, but somehow I suspect that he already knows -- he's great at figuring stuff like that out!
I dread the day that we make our farewells, but as I am learning, that is a part of life.
For those in the eighth grade now, cherish these last few months because I suspect that after this school year nothing will be the same.
This was brought up recently about me, and I have to say, no, my life does not suck. . . however there are certain things that I wish were better:
Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.
I sure hope so!
That attitude seems to exist within the gay community, that young gays like myself -- and those even younger -- should be seen and not heard. Actually, they'd probably prefer that we were invisible because we "get in their way".
If you take a good, hard look at the gay culture, there is a lack of resources and attention devoted to preteen and early teen G/L/B/T's. . . it's as if we don't "count". Now I'm not saying that Oasis doesn't help us out, but think of how an eleven-year-old might feel after he saw the way I was bashed here the last few months? I bet that would make him (or her) go even deeper into the closet, and lock the deadbolt. I remember a few years back when it really started to dawn on me that I was gay, and there was nobody to turn to for help. Until I met Taylor, it was just Eric and I, wondering what the heck was going on in our heads.
I think a huge problem in our country is the way sex ed is taught, I know my brother hasn't even had it in school yet. When it is taught, it seems like the parents and educators go off into the deep end fighting over what should be taught. You want to teach our kids about abortion? No way! Condoms in school? Are you nuts! Then there's the granddaddy of them all. . . masturbation. Mention the word and WW III breaks out!
Over something many of us have done.
I'm blessed that my parents taught my brother and I the facts of life from a early age, and being nudists sure made things that much clearer, but I can't help feeling sorry for those out there who have to deal with parents or schools that keep that important information from them, or fill their brains with misinformation. I remember a boy in second grade that used to hold his penis with toilet paper when he had to go to the bathroom because his Mom had told him that it was "dirty and shouldn't be touched". . . I wonder what kind of mental state he's in today?
Whoever said that ignorance is bliss needs a knuckle sandwich!
Where does this leave the eleven-year-old who thinks he might be gay? In some cases up a creek without an oar. If he's able to access the Internet, there are the chat rooms, where all guys care about are the size of their penises and obtaining self pics -- nudes preferred, naturally. Wow, that's an inspiring way to learn about one's sexuality! I don't even want to talk about the newsgroups.
I'm not blasting Oasis in any way, because for many of us, this is our only oasis from the world we live in, but there is something missing:
Columns from those younger readers.
Think about it, I'm one of the youngest contributors, and I'm 14. What about those eleven and twelve-year-olds? I'm sure there's some reading each issue, so where's their input? Don't their feelings and opinions count? Should they not be seen or heard? I hope they're not afraid to submit anything because of the way I've been treated, but I can't help wondering about that?
I have a simple solution: I'm calling on all of the younger Oasis readers -- you know who you are -- to write a column! I'm begging. . . no, I'm pleading with you to let your voice be heard. Tell us how you feel. . . what goes through your mind. . . what your life is like. Just remember, you don't have to use your real name or give a e-mail address, you just have to write straight from the heart.
We need to hear that, whether we want to or not.
We are the future.
We are tomorrow.
We WILL make a difference!