August 1998

Well, here goes. I am starting my first article. On a time like this, one might expect me to be nervous, but I am not. It's 12:20 AM, Wednesday 7-08, and I just got through watching "As Good As It Gets" for the second time, and I must say that I really love that movie. But media aside, my name is Sam, and I am a 17 year-old homosexual male living in Eastern Montana. I am a High School Senior. There are only six people in the entire world who know that I am gay. Two live here in my town, two live in a small town in South Dakota, one lives in Northern Kentucky, and one lives in Michigan. I have known that I was gay ever since the summer between my sixth and seventh grade years. I basically found out when one of my friends stole a Playboy Magazine from a convenience store and showed it to me. Needless to say, I was not aroused in any way. Another incident was when one of my friends wanted to come over to my house and wanted to use my computer to get porn off of the Internet. Oh what a complex life we live.

Let's talk about experiences for a moment. My first coming out experience, I was at a party in Washington D.C. at the Washington Journalism Conference, and there was a young man there, named Matt. The dance was on the night before the last day, and I asked if I could talk to him (Matt is openly gay. He wore a gay pride pin every day). He said sure, so we went in a quiet corner and talked. He knew that I was gay with the questions that I was asking him. Well, we talked for about 45 minutes, and at the end of the dance, he came and found me and asked me if I wanted to dance. I was hesitant, and I did not know why. After about two minutes I explained to him that I did not want to. Now, three months later, I have a ton of guilt for not taking him up on that offer. We have kept in touch, and I have been letting him know how my experiences are going.

When I told my grandmother, I first tested her, I emphasized how I thought gays and lesbians were being treated horribly. She disagreed, and started using the Bible as a reference. So we got into a political argument about it, and when I went to bed that night, I laid awake for about two hours thinking about whether or not I should tell her or not. Finally I decided that I would tell her. For all of you that have come out to somebody before, you know the feeling of nervousness. For those of you that haven't, I will briefly describe it. Imagine yourself with butterflies in your stomach, then multiply that experience by 20, and you have yourself the amount of nervousness that I felt. Just before I was about to tell her, she asked me what was wrong, and I said, "I have something to tell you." She replied, "What is it?" And I responded, "You better sit down." After she did, I told her "I am gay." She just sat there staring at me for about 10 or 15 seconds, and I can remember my entire life flashing before my eyes, and I also remember wondering if I had done the right thing by telling her about this special part of me. After a little bit she asked me if I was sure, and I said yes. The she started talking about how it is against God's will to be gay, and that I should go talk to a Minister in my town. The next day I left there and flew home (I stopped there as a 3-day layover on a trip home).

Another experience I had was a much MUCH better one. One of my best friends noticed that something was wrong one day and asked me if I was all right. I responded that I was fine, and I was just a little depressed. She said back to me "Tell me what is on your mind." And I replied "Later." I mainly said this since I was on a bus headed back from marching band in a nearby town. So me with my nervousness (I live in an extremely homophobic town, such to that extent there has only been one other person that my town knows of that was gay), I put it off for two and a half more weeks. One day when I was doing some inventory for the school, she said "Tell me your secret!" so I said let's go sit outside. I took a deep breath and I said, "I'm gay." She promptly responded "That's all? You could have told me before." So we sat there and talked for about 30 minutes on the subject, and she got to know me much better, and she thought more highly of me as a person.

The other person I talked to in town basically didn't believe me. I took quite a bit of convincing, but he finally accepted it. This guy is in the same grade I am, and he is one of the people you hear talking in the halls that say that if they ever meet a gay person, he would kill them. I quickly changed his mind.

One of the other people I told was my sister. She basically said that God didn't make me like this, and I shouldn't be thinking like this. So we ended it at that, and we never mentioned it again.

And finally, the last person I told was a close friend of the family. We were in the car alone one day and I said that I had something that I wanted to tell her, and she said "What?" I was nervous, so I didn't say anything for a little while, and she said, "Did you have sex? " I said no. Next she questioned, "Are you gay?" I promptly replied, "Does it really matter? " She said no, and I said no. It wasn't until the next day that I said to her, "In answer to your question, yes." She said, "You're gay?" I nodded. "I knew it, since you are a terrible liar. The way you avoided it yesterday in the car, I could tell," she answered. Stunned I said, "Don't you have any questions?" and she said no. So I talked for a while, but it was 1:00 AM and I was tired.

That is it for my coming out experiences. Next month I will go into personal details about me. Have a great life!


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