February 1999

OK, people. Minus the raucous applauding and cheering that I know isn't there, this is my first and possibly last article....

Hopefully as you noticed from the link, I am Matt, I'm 16 and an Aussie. That's just the country I come from though. I'll be happy as long as after having read this I can remove myself as far from the "Crocodile Dundee" image as possible. I can't speak for the other 18 million people here though. Oh, another thing. My name really is Matt. Not being a huge Tom Cruise fan, there's no "Mission: Impossible" type hi-jinks going on here. Much like the first episode of the X-Files, the following story is "inspired by actual documented accounts" and any resemblance to any persons living or dead is completely intended. All names etc. are real (have I made my point yet?)

So, with that having been said, why not start?


OK, maybe the title's a little brief. It relates to love, and while it affects gay and straight people the same in the end, it is I feel the hardest thing about being gay.

What is being gay? At it's simplest form, being sexually attracted to people of the same gender. What is the purpose of sexual attraction? Unless anyone disagrees with me, it is to become attracted to the person you eventually fall in love with. Now, assuming that gay people aren't only attracted to other gay people, working from that attraction upwards, I make it possible for you to fall in love with a straight person of your gender, especially if you aren't sure which way they go. This is a relationship that will one way or another hurt you. It can turn out a variety of ways, and I'm sure there's plenty, but now, without making this sound like a whinge, the following is one of those ways:

When at school, and you realise you like someone, it either ends up fairytale like you're friends or something and one day you're over at their place and you feel this moment of heat and closeness and you kiss, or like others, you do everything humanly possible to get to know the target of your attraction whilst still appearing to be doing things normally, and find out that not only are they the cutest person in the planet, but also the kindest, nicest and having the most in common with you too. Eventually, after they start hanging around with you, standing around just wanting to hold them becomes unbearable, so you come out. They turn out to be straight, and while they insist they're OK with you and you're still friends, you both end up drifting apart such that between the both of you you can't even stand, one way or another, being in the same place without talking.

Well, in case you couldn't tell, that's my story. The guy's name's Andrew, he's 14 and in year 9 at my school. For those of you who personally recognise that story in terms of how perfect that person was and/or those who care, his nickname amongst my group was "Little Matt" we are that alike.

What is the point of making this, much to my own chagrin, another of the "this is my life" columns rather than addressing a real issue? Basically so I could say give me all the religious persecution etc, just so long as I knew that at the end of the day, when things got tough, Andrew's arms would be there waiting for me, and in him, all my troubles would melt away.

Now, seeing that here now written down, I envisage a lot of frowns on people's faces, ie those who have life hard because of the things I have just wished upon myself. Well, you have the chance to condemn me to any particular place of eternal damnation later. But for now, let me tell you that the reason I would wish those things upon myself is because I don't know what any of them are like. I have achieved (in my mind anyway) a reasonable balance in most areas, except for the one I am writing about now. I also, though, take what I wish for very seriously. Unless I didn't believe what I just wrote, I wouldn't have left it there. So Greater Deity A, please read and take notice.

The same people to whom I directed the last paragraph probably now think I'm crazy. The only reason I accept this is because it is meant as an indicator of my feelings for Andrew.

Believe it or not, this is where I get to the point of the point. Above, I acknowledged that love affects gay and straight alike, but here my friends, is the difference. Imagine for a second the person I had been talking about was named Andrea instead. Now, I'm definitely not the cutest guy in the world, but in my opinion, based on the friendship we had in reality, my looks would be the only thing stopping me and Andrea from being like the closest ever. True, she could have turned me away anyway, but even in that case, there's still plenty of girls in the world.....

Back to reality. Andrew with a W is straight, and damn happy to be so. And what, one way or another, stopped us from being friends? The fact I was gay. Just for another second, looking past the fact he's the perfect guy, unlike with Andrea, there's not exactly plenty of other guys in the world. As you should all know, being gay automatically rules out 9/10 guys from being compatible, and given how special Andrew was, how hard is it finding a 1/1,000,000 person in a 1/10 population?

It's so near impossible that it's hard to see sometimes. And that, finally, my dear readers, is why being gay is the absolute pits (for want of a more forceful word). No amount of community awareness or well written coming out books can change that Fact. Something as simple but special as a childhood sweetheart is infinitely elusive for a lot of us.

As I leave my article now, I beg those of you at junior or full high school who have found their own Andrew to make sure the first opportunity you get you hug them until neither of you can breathe, knowing how lucky you are to be alive. Those of you who could change the names and still make this their story, tonight I will think of us all walking our plane of life, feeling alone. If, however, you fit that category and you still wake up in the morning feeling the sun shines especially for you, I take my hat off to you. That was a belief I lost a long time ago.


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