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Neil

September 1998

Neil, 15, is from the north-west of England.

Well, it's been a long time but I'm back. Well, there are two ways that you can look at that one..

'Hello' seems to be the best (and least likely to offend) way to start. But now I'm rambling so I'll move on.

Since our last meeting back in the dark days of June or something around that time, things have happened. Big things and small things to all of us. Well, I came out to someone at school a girl called 'C' (The initial seems to be the right thing to do.). She took it extremely well, and the reaction was something along the lines 'You're not!' -- but I was/am -- which isn't a complete surprise. I think though that she (and a lot of other people, I'll bet) know 'the truth' based on my 'subtle hints' over the past few months. OK, so they're really stereotypical. The walk, things I talk about, the way I talk to people, hand movements and so-forth. However, there is a down side to my actions. I want more!!! It's insidious: I told her and it was like this weight had been lifted, it was the feeling that someone will accept me for being me. At that moment I could have just died. But I didn't.

Also, last Saturday (1/7) I went to the queer youth group in Manchester. It was something I'd been thinking of doing for a long time, ever since I picked up a copy of 'The Pink Paper' in Dillion's in April and on flipping through it found the group in the classifieds at the back. Well, I finally plucked up the courage to go. And I'm so glad I did, it was an eye-opener. Despite knowing I'm not the only one, until I actually met some other 'queers' in person, there was that feeling of isolation. But not anymore.

However

--There always is a flip-side

3:1 was the ratio of votes (yes:no) in the House Of Commons a little time ago that would have brought some form of equality to gays. The debate, incidentally, was concerned with the lowering of the gay (just gay men) age of consent down to the age of 16, so it would be in line with the 'straight' law. The House Of Lords then rejected this, as part of the Crime and Disorder bill. The Home Secretary has now decided it's not even worth the risk of losing the Crime and Disorder bill to fight this. No, I can't say that. Things do seem to actually be moving on, because at least he has said that the new legislation will be brought through as an individual bill next parliament. Mr. Straw, if you cock this one up there are going to be a lot of unhappy people...

I do think that the topic above ties in quite nicely to something I saw on the front page of one of our newspapers the other week. A lesbian couple who wanted to have children but couldn't get the IVF treatment here did a DIY job with a jam-jar each full of two separate men and a syringe. Sounds almost comical, doesn't it? I mean, if I saw that in a film I'd probably be laughing, but I'm not. It shows the level of prejudices that force people to do brash deeds. The couple has, incidentally, now broken up. The newspaper took some delight in reporting this, with an article that (though not actually stating this in plain English, more of an implication) seemed to be reporting the triumph of family-values of the 'demoralized' gay & lesbian culture. Well if we want to go for demoralizing in the papers, we could look at how they pursued Princess Diana to the extent that photographers aware of the profit that could be made with her pictures pursue her to her death, or the newspaper who decided it would be nice to report on a New Scotland Yard police operation to trap drug barons or some-such. It was a time ago, but I do remember that thanks to the article, the uproar due to the waste of Taxpayers money -all work and surveillance conducted was now a write-off.

I'm not wishing to get into a debate over freedom of information and the right to know. I do believe in that, I do imagine I neglect the freedom of news in the West. But I do think limits should be imposed. I do feel that forcing opinion onto people in the way that being gay is 'demoralizing' society and how family values will triumph, no thanks.

It's good to be back.

Take care, until next time,

Neil

nknight@bigfoot.com


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