One gay man's journey to find God, and himself

By Jeff Walsh

A newsgroup for gay and lesbian youth seeking help is constantly flooded with questions of how to balance sexuality and spirituality. The struggle to balance the two proves fatal for many teens, and it almost killed Mel White.

White, 55, is now the Minister of Justice for the Metropolitan Community Churches nationwide. As late as 1991, Dr. White's resume read like an entry out of Who's Who in the Religious Right. He wrote speeches for Ollie North, was a ghostwriter on a book for Jerry Falwell, worked with Jim Bakker and Pat Robertson and walked along the beach with Billy Graham.

An Open Letter to Pat Robertson from Dr. Mel White

(faxed to Robertson on 1/25/96)

Dear Pat,

There is a growing spirit of intolerance in our land. Since the 1600s, when fundamentalist Christians chased Roger Williams to Rhode Island and burned 'witches' at the stake in Salem, similar cycles of intolerance have littered the nation with broken bodies and ruined dreams. Now, it's happening again. And that's why we're writing you.

We are convinced that your relentless campaign against homosexuality is a primary cause of the growing spirit of intolerance towards lesbian, gay, and bisexual Americans. We have monitored every 700 Club broadcast since you came to visit me in the Virginia Beach City Jail in March, 1995. And though you condemn violence, we are also convinced that your false and inflammatory anti-homosexual rhetoric leads indirectly to the very violence you condemn.

Michelle Klucsor, 19, of San Jose, California

By Jeff Walsh

Michelle Klucsor didn't have any stress going to her first gay youth group meeting -- at the time, she thought she was straight.

The now 19-year-old college sophomore says she first went to a San Jose, CA youth group when her friend asked her to go with her for support.

But it was more difficult when Michelle finally decided to go for herself. "The first time I went on my own, it was still pretty scary," she said. "I got there early and I was nervous, but the people there were really friendly.

Harvey New Year

With a new album in stores and a movie on the way, everyone can get a dose of gay America's sweetheart

By Jeff Walsh

Harvey Fierstein has earned three Tony Awards for "Torch Song Trilogy" and his written version of "La Cage Aux Folles." His starring performance in the movie version of "Torch Song Trilogy" has helped hundreds of thousands of people accept their own sexuality and the sexuality of other family members. And younger audiences are sure to remember his hilarious role as Robin Williams' gay brother in "Mrs. Doubtfire."

Justin Clouse, 19, of Boston, Massachusetts

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."

Pansy Division

By Jeff Walsh

In February, queer punk fans will get another peek into Jon Ginoli's bedroom as Pansy Division releases its third album.

As was the case with their two previous albums, Ginoli is still single, still frustrated with the gay community and still writing great music for everyone else in the same situation.

Sara Webb, 17, of Atlanta, Georgia

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."

Author gives gay youth their due in new book

By Jeff Walsh

As the late Kurt Cobain used to sing on-stage in Smells Like Teen Spirit: "Our little tribe has always been and always will until the end."

Author Linnea Due, 47, agrees with Cobain, but says considering the strides and volume of books and information written for the gay community, youth have been snubbed in those advances.

Matt Marco, 22, of Washington, D.C.

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."

Dan Martin, 17, of Fresno, California

By Jeff Walsh

Unlike many teens, Dan Martin never felt he was the only gay teen in his town or high school. "My logic told me there's got to be others," he says. "I'm not that unique."

He just didn't know how to find others, and was afraid of them finding him. So, he spent hours alone in his bedroom talking to people through his computer.

Outing Yourself tells how to remove closet from your life

By Jeff Walsh

Each school year marks a time of change, from having new teachers and classes to new demands and expectations. For queer and questioning students, it can also mean debating whether or not you will tell anyone about your sexuality this semester.

But deciding to come out, by either telling one special friend or the entire student body, is a major step.

Wilson Cruz looks toward future after show cancellation

By Jeff Walsh

Truth isn't stranger than fiction for Wilson Cruz.

When Cruz portrayed Rickie last year on the acclaimed-albeit-canceled television show "My So-Called Life," truth doubled as fiction as he brought his own painful and sometimes repressed memories of growing up gay to the screen.

The show was lauded by critics for its honesty and willingness to talk about real issues concerning teenagers. And as many television shows spent the holiday season making oh-so-hip references to "It's a Wonderful Life" while showing family togetherness scenes that would make Newt Gingrich feel all warm inside, My So-Called Life told a bitter truth as it followed Rickie, who ran away from home before Christmas because he was having problems with his sexuality.

Prayers for Bobby

A new book examines a gay son's suicide, and his mother's new life.

By Jeff Walsh

Bobby Griffith's four-year struggle with being gay and trying to live a Christian life ended on Aug. 27, 1983.

On that day, the twenty-year-old California man backflipped off a freeway overpass in Portland, OR., timing his leap so his body would be struck and killed by an oncoming tractor-trailer.

Gay Pride

By Jeff Walsh

To this writer, gay pride always seemed an uneven mix of sex and politics. But that all changed when I went to the 1994 Pride Parade in New York City. I had written against gay pride parades before attending that event, but my viewpoint changed when I saw the school bus come down the street.

It's all kind of surreal now, so I don't know if it was a real school bus. For some reason, I think it was a fake float made to look like a school bus. In any event, the float was sponsored by the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a gay city high school.

Viewpoint: Logging on, coming out

from The Advocate, Issue #666, October 18, 1994, page 6

By Jeff Walsh

I was 23 when I accepted that I was gay. I remember it being such a rush to finally talk to other gay people on my home computer. At that point I thought falling in love and living a happy life were things I could never have. I'll also never forget how alone I used to feel after I shut off my computer because that was the only place my gay community existed.

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