By Jeff Walsh
Justin Clouse was never beat up because he's gay. He wasn't threatened, harassed or even suicidal. He began telling people he was gay in the tenth grade, and no one freaked out or called him names.
"I realize that doesn't make for interesting copy," Justin says apologetically. "I think that's a lot of people's misperception -- If I'm going to come out, a lot of people are going to beat me up and harass me."
By Jeff Walsh
The thought of having sex with a guy turns Sara Webb's stomach.
"The first serious boyfriend I had wanted to have intercourse," the 17-year-old Atlanta resident recalls. "I threw up on him. I was repulsed by it."
Webb doesn't have a problem with guys, though, just sex with guys. "To this day, guys, I find, are my best friends," she says. "I love them to death as friends and I'm emotionally attracted to guys, but if anything physical ever happens, I'm just repulsed."
By Jeff Walsh
Matt Marco was everything a student should be.
In his Edwardsville, Ill., high school, he was a chairperson on the student council and a member of the National Honor Society, drama club, chess club and French club.
"I had the basic overachiever resume," Marco says. "I was very well-known, very well-liked and I was going to be a foreign exchange student to France my senior year."
Daddy was a very smart man with horrible decision making skills. My melancholy and not so fortunate story starts with a man who brought me into this world seven years before he decided it was time to say goodbye to the air that travelled through his damaged lungs. My father was a foster home, lost cause, individual set between metal bars. An alcoholic. And addict. Whatever the twisted, mangled, frayed, and shattered label may have been, to me he was my father. Daddy heard the voices; he starred down the un-seeable with this quickly fading sanity. ..
I think I swallowed your name that night in the bar.
I think you infected my veins while the music was
raging some 90s rock song and nobody was
paying attention to us as we ran to the back
room of this exile for tar-winged children.
And boy, now you're starving for some
sort of distraction in button-down lust;
a porn star type in DKNY jeans.
But I'm not one of those underground souls,
looking to lose consciousness
in pretty lashes and money-grabbing directors.
Honey, you can take a cab home because
I'm only here for the bottled-up affection
you said would never be mine
I definitely wish I had ended my speech with that, haha.
So, I graduated! Everything went surprisingly well. (The hat and I were absolutely not friends, though. It messed up my hair so much.) Giving the salutatory speech was beyond nervewracking, though. When I got onstage and looked out into the audience, for some reason, I thought this girl in the very back was FCG, so it freaked me out big time. I later discovered that the girl was not, in fact, FCG, but I couldn't tell that from the stage. (It was possible that she could've been there. She's apparently still friends with IG.) Despite my nerves, I actually gave the speech with minimal problems. I messed up once because I started reading the wrong line, but it was only a little mistake, so it wasn't that big a deal. And I didn't trip going up the steps or walking across the stage!
A lot of the other girls cried, but I didn't. I'm so glad to get out of there. I can't even begin to put the feeling into words.
We've had another spat over high school. I want to take Italian and move back to Italy to home school, and spend my days wandering those deliciously silent streets of Venice. But Mom purses her lips and says that she won't "narrow my horizons" like that, that I'll get a better degree if I stay here. She says I have to see the "light at the end of the tunnel." I can see a light alright, but I might have to walk into it before the four years are up. She keeps talking about rights of passage and persevering. I just don't know if I can survive this.
*I've been reading Judy Shepard's book "The Meaning of Matthew" about her son who was murdered in 1998. I wanted to write a poem about who Matthew was as a person, not just the headline story. The title was taken from Lady Gaga's cover of "Imagine" by John Lennon.*
The state melted into a pool
of cerulean in your eyes,
Wyoming tinted your hair
a cowboy prairie blond and
stained your boyish lips
with a wanderlust grin.
Matthew, you've grown
older by now but some
things never change like how
the Curious Unknown
still sparkles in your dreams,
the sticker lights of Laramie.
A few days ago I went with my father to pick up some speakers he had bought, and I fell asleep in the car on the way home. When I went to get out the door I saw a crane fly right next to where my face was, at most a couple of inches away. The next day I was walking my dog and the same crane fly flew right in front of me. The day after that (yesterday) it was in my room, flying around me. And just now it was outside my window, trying to get in my room. What the fuck is this?
This month has been mostly a hell, the first week of it I was really depressed and my parents made things worse, I tried to kill myself twice, I made more cuts and my birthday really sucked, I spent all day holding tears at school, faking smiles and lying to my parents saying to them that I had a good day and that I was really tired, I actually cried all night at home and thought a lot of suicide and why I had failed last time (2 days before); some times I get some little euphoric or maniac episodes and after they're gone I feel worse.