April 1999

Before I dive into deep babble, I'll start by giving a bit of background. My name is Sonja, and I'm a seventeen year old high school senior in Vermont. It's kind of frightening to have less than a hundred days left in high school, but I'm dealing with it OK. I still don't know where I'm going to college next year, so everyone on the planet can stop asking! Onward with the babble.

One thing I do know that I'm doing is on March 27th I'm going to the GLSEN [Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network] conference in Boston. I went last year, and it was a great experience. It was the first, and really the only, time that I've been that involved with the gay community [here in Vermont, we tend to hide our homosexuals as not to frighten the skiers.] It was just a tremendously wonderful eye-opening experience which greatly helped me start to define my own sexuality [which is an issue I've been dealing with a lot lately. I'm not straight, let's just leave it at that.]

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to going this year, except for one thing. Somehow GLSEN has become a bigger social event than prom. My friends sit around talking about who's going and with whom and everything else. My friend Jill [name has been changed] has even discussed what outfit she's wearing. This is a little bit odd to me, but what really gets under my skin is the vast amount of misconception surrounding the whole event.

Everyone has assumed that everyone at the GLSEN conference that is not from our school and is not either myself, or any of the other three openly bisexual students on campus signed up for the conference, is gay. That would be misconception number one. Misconception number two would be that they [they being the straight people coming from my school] will be hit on. This brings up a few issues.

A few people, including the openly bisexual guy who is going, have discussed either writing their sexuality across their foreheads or pretending to be a couple with someone they're not actually dating, and other such things to make their sexuality obvious. This bothers me a little bit. First off, why do you want to go to such lengths to make people realize that you're straight? Second, why do you care if someone [no matter what their sexual preference] finds you attractive? It sounds to me like these people aren't as accepting as they would like others to think they are. Either the conference will totally shock them or they will get a grip on what it really is, an event to learn more about sexuality [your own and others] and tolerance, and have a good time. I hope they get all of this nonsense out of their systems before March 27!


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