December 1998

An interesting thing happened to me the other day, which kind of disturbed me. I was sitting in the dentist office, waiting for my name to be called, when I noticed these two little girls, probably seven or eight years old, doing their homework. Apparently they had a rhyming activity, where they were given a word and were expected to come up with a different word that had the same rhyme pattern. Having nothing else to do, I listened in on their conversation:

"The word is hat!" one little girl said with a giggle.

"Well, what could rhyme with that?" the other one said and smiled.

"Hmmm... how bout cat!" the girl gleefully suggested.

"Okay! Cat and hat do rhyme. Next word, fox."

"Oooh-- this one is easy... box!" the girl said cheerfully.

"Very good! Well, the next one is bike," the second girl informed her friend.

"Let's see... I know, dyke! Dyke rhymes with bike! Now how do you spell it?" the girl said as innocently as possible.

Now this girl's response to her friend really got my attention, and it got me to thinking. This is why society tends to be so homophobic. These two girls, young as they are, certainly don't know what they were talking about, and aren't to blame for their potentially offensive language; it is the work of their parents.

It is a shame that these two children have already been exposed to such discrimination. And it isn't just the parents' fault individually, but society's as a whole. But it is these individual members that make society so contempt of the gay and lesbian community. And these individuals are raising children to follow in their footsteps. When's it going to end?

Anyway, enough with my warpath! As an individual, I am becoming more and more open as a gay teenager. It is extremely hard in some cases, but I am trying to live my life to its fullest. In the past month or so, I've discovered the joys, the kindness, and the importance of the gay community. Living in the Tampa Bay area in Florida, there are quite a number of places that are open to such people. Although getting to these places can prove to be difficult, as I still keep the secret from my parents, it is like another world: another world of understanding and acceptance.

I went to an independent gay film festival, held in Tampa about a month ago, with my good friend Chris. It was great to be surrounded with others who were just like me. I saw men holding hands, and women holding each other. This was my first real experience in the gay community, and it was just like a part of me that had been screaming to be let out was finally relieved.

I have also recently discovered this awesome little bookstore, called Affinity, which specializes in gay literature. When I walked in, I was surrounded with stories and real-life tales of people that I could relate to. Love stories with the two main characters being male; tales of heroism featuring two women. I was overcome with this great feeling. Reading the backs of these books made me realize that I wasn't alone; I realized that none of us are alone... And for those of you teens who are struggling, I would suggest getting "Free Your Mind" by Bass and Kaufman. It is an inspirational book that deals with common problems that many gay/lesbian/bisexual teens face. It has been a lifesaver for me, and has made me feel much better and more secure about myself.

My advice to any readers looking for it is to try to become more in touch with yourself. In this way, you will learn things that you never knew before, and feel much better about yourself as an individual. The Internet offers a myriad of resources, and local libraries and bookstores also provide information and books for the gay community.

If anyone would like to email me, you can at FubarFL@Aol.com. I'm always open to talk, so if you have any problems or would just like to say hi, write me a letter!

I'll leave you all with this quote... one that has helped me in more ways than one: "Accept me for who I am, or accept that you are narrow-minded"

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