June 1999

Coming Out in an All-Boys School

I came out in March to two friends I remain unattracted to: I remember we were searching out a fast food restaurant in around St. Clair and Yonge Streets in Toronto, through dry snowfall, during the first intermission of the playoff game between our high school and Upper Canada College. Me and my two friends, Andrew and Leslie (these supposed names carry no symbolic significance whatsoever; frankly, they're their real names) are tennis playing, poetry writing, cigarette smoking, Absolut drinking pansy-types, but we cheer -on our school's hockey players anyway. At an all-boys school, that makes us substitute girlfriends.

Curiously, Andrew and Leslie are straight. As an all-boys school boarding student, I am adept at picking up on subtle queerisms, since no one here is flaming gay. Leslie speaks with a lisp and he's a fashion plate, which 9 times out of 10 precurses an uncloseting at some future date, but Leslie's circumstances (being Fresh Off the Boat Chinese) more than his sexual orientation dictate he act queer.

I engage in the occasional subtle gay act. The purpose is to advertise yourself only to prospective fellow homosexuals, I suppose, rather than to encourage unkind derision from homophobes, that is, rugby players. So, the towel stays on in the shower room until I'm inside the stall. Actually, my boxer shorts stay on inside the stall just incase someone accidentally enters, which they do regularly; I wouldn't want that person to think I was flashing myself at him, taking advantage of his folly.

I do wear a baby blue shirt on occasion. I wear it underneath a Roots navy blue thermal flannel pull-over, with the baby-blue peeking through the V-crest which would otherwise expose my neck. I suppose I could walk about in kilts like some football players do, flashing their large genitalia about from under their tartans, but that would be blatant flamboyance if I did it. Invariably, I would get teased back home in days flat.

I flirted with a football player for several weeks earlier this year in Environmental Science class. I gazed at the back of his gorgeous blonde head longingly every class, except when he occasionally turned around and gave me sly winks. When he squeezes my ass every so often, or when he performs simulated anal penetration on me when he follows me into the bathroom after class, I have to act nonchalant, but secretly, I enjoy it. Same with when Justin, a one-time Frosted Flakes child model, touches my private area under the desk in Calculus. Or when I'm salivating over Oliver, an impossibly handsome Australian boy in my English class, I have to pretend I'm not liking him licking my spit off my lips with his tongue.

I mean, an all-boys school environment represses homosexuals through the cult of machismo. The machos, the sports goons, have endless fun strutting about naked through the dormitories, or circle jerking in their rooms, because they're womanizing, straight young men. As a homosexual I yearn to express myself to others of my own type, but the straight police will never let that happen.

That night in Toronto, I was longingly desperate to come out. I had purchased copy of WH Auden's poetry that afternoon. I felt romantic, albeit romantic with two unappetizing straight friends with me there, but I decided that I had to do it, for the sake of my mental health, and for that pretty Hispanic boy who watches me play tennis every afternoon through binoculars from his dorm room window.

"Guys, I'm gay," I announced.

"Stop that," said Leslie.

"No, I'm really gay," I told them firmly.

"That's not very funny," Andrew said. I am reminded of the fable where a father tells his young son to jump from a ledge into his loving arms. When the boy jumps, the father steps back and the boy crashes onto hard ground.

"Come," the father says, "that will teach you never to trust anyone."

Perhaps the world really is an all-boys school, barren of homosexuals save myself.

Do you know what the saddest thing is of all? This morning, I was flipping through the Globe and Mail, and I fell in love with Reese Witherspoon.


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