Been here done this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPEhq98F3i4&feature=related
This video basically describes what it was like for me growing up.
Been here done this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPEhq98F3i4&feature=related
This video basically describes what it was like for me growing up.
I ran into a couple guys my age in the laundry room, having their guy talk about things guys talk about.
And by guys, of course, I mean “straight” guys. But who really says that. There are two types of guys: guys, and gay guys.
Anyway, I made acknowledgement to them as I entered the room amidst their generic guy conversation. I did not introduce myself as I moved my clothes from the washer to the dryer. I made no attempt to become acquainted as I emptied my laundry basket and loaded quarters into the machine. I just let them have their guy talk, because I figure . . . what’s the use of trying anymore? Why bother to care if they’ll like me? There’s no sense in even trying to converse, be friendly or cordial. I’m not like them. And in practically every friendship I’ve attempted with males, the other begins a mental investigation of my masculinity, or lackthere of, and eventually determines I’m gay, a.k.a. uncool. Different. A leper.
So after putting my clothes in the dryer, I placed my laundry basket on top and quietly exited the room.
In a way, I feel like I’m finally learning to accept my “place” as someone with whom most guys would not want to associate. I’m learning to anticipate and navigate the conditions of this social stigma I’ve been assigned. So what I’m intelligent, educated, thoughtful, loyal, honest, trustworthy, funny, and able to solder wire and construct things—this is the part that causes me to feel “no one cares.” It’s like, all that stuff is nice. Great. Wonderful, sure. But the whole gay thing seems to trump all. It’s like a stain on even the most beautiful, expensive wedding dress. It would be worth thousands of dollars . . . if it werent’ for that ugly smudge on the sleve.
I anticipate my life to be pretty much solitary. I’m not interested in dating or joining the “gay community” to unite and share in a collective stigma. I’m not much interested in sex, because I’d rather not die of AIDS. I see myself as someone who eventually will climb his career ladder, have a paycheck that could allow me to buy a house and a nice car. I’ll be someone who most people don’t know anything about. I’ll live alone and read. I’ll get a beautiful dog to keep me company and not judge me or make me feel bad about myself. I do have this dream to live for. In truth, I really don’t see it as all that bad.
Maybe there will be one person who sees the 100 foot high wall I’ve built around myself… and he’ll be so curious about me that they’ll believe that it’s worth the climb to just be able to see me closer. And as he struggles I’ll appreciate his valliant efforts, and maybe I’d even go so far as to open the door just a crack to ask, “who’s there?”
I had forgotten about this one but something was said on the radio that made it come to the surface.
In junior high, the other boys would grab my crotch or slap my butt in the hallway and say “You like that don’t you, fag?”
The locker room was hell. They’d do terrible things. They’d throw their sneakers and books and pencils at me and would flash their bare buts and say “He likes that, he’s a fag.” And they’d roar with laughs. It was horrible.
Anybody who hasn’t witnessed it, or gone through it themselves, couldn’t fully understand how trapped you are as a gay teenager. There’s no one to really talk to, especially if you’re not even sure if you’re gay or not. If your parents were like mine, don’t dare go to them. They hate fags too. Teachers are afraid to give you advice for liability reasons. They aren’t really allowed to tell you “it’s okay” to be gay, or they don’t want to take that chance, so they ignore the issue altogether.
My teachers were pretty apathetic. They were there to do a job, take their money and go home and live their lives, like every other employed adult. They didn’t proactively do anything about bullying. And when it’s practically the entire class picking on one student, there’s no one to “single out.” Teachers can feel equally helpless! Children simply speak the voice of the overall culture, only without censoring. A teacher trying to protect the gay student from all the other students may as well try to get the entire community to stop thinking as it does.
Gay kids in middle school fare about as well as child pedophiles in a state prison. They’re at the bottom of the social food chain, and constant victims of violence and hatred. Additionally, many adults think that victimization is deserved due to their own personal homophobic views.
Hopefully things are better now than they were when I was 13, which now, is ten years ago. Wow.
Homophobia takes lives
a hatred with the power to cause suicides
it says gay men are cheaters, promiscuously smart
and you mean to tell me that straight men aren’t?
that marriage is a sacred and beautiful thing
And that only opposite genders should say vows and wear rings
Just one man and one woman is how it must stay
Two men on the cake??? That’s just not the right way!
IT WAS ADAM and EVE who wore the LEAVES OF FIGS
But remind me, when did they divorce?
and fight over the kids?
Today’s Adam is the drunkard who beats up on Eve.
And Battered Wife Syndrome is why she can’t leave.
But still that’s better than two women or men
living happily together as more than just friends
Though it may not make sense, the rules of marriage aren’t supple
God forbid two men EVER are seen as a couple
I don’t care if his “partner” is the love of his life
God dammit! He’s a MAN! HE SHOULD HAVE A WIFE!
“Just like normal people! Leave them alone, they’re just like normal people!”
I get so twisted and nauseated with so many hideous emotions when people say things like this.
“You can tell when a guy is gay because they have mannerisms that are different.
“Like, a gay guy will be like, ‘Oh I love your shoes . . . I love your hair! . . .
“That’s just not something you’d see normal straight guys do.”
Maybe I should reprhase that question. . .
Can any one of you NORMAL and REGULAR people see why these statements are so hurtful?
Sarah is fifteen years old, and everyone in her family smokes cigarettes. Her mom smokes. Her dad smokes. Her brothers smoke. And it doesn’t stop there.
Her dog smokes. Her cat smokes. Her neighbors smoke. Everyone at school smokes. Everyone on the block smokes. Everyone in the town smokes. Sarah is the only person in her world that doesn’t smoke cigarettes.
She tried to smoke once and almost died.
Everyone thinks Sarah is strange because she does not smoke.
Sarah has trouble making friends. The kids at school all make fun of her and call her “smokeless sarah.” They mock her. “She’s scared” they say. “She’s too scared to smoke. Loser.”
Sarah cries a lot. Sometimes bullies beat her up and blow smoke in her face. Sarah is so depressed. Her grades are terrible and she’s barely passing. She’s lost so much weight and has dark circles under her eyes. She looks worn out. She looks like she’s dying, and she feels that way inside and out.
Sarah’s parents are ashamed of their daughter.
When relatives visit for the holidays, they never know what to get Sarah, because she doesn’t smoke! Grampa Lou gave Sarah’s mom a case of Malboros like he does every year, and Grandma Sue gave everyone a pack of Camel Turkish Golds.
Everyone in the family enjoys trying different cigarettes. Even Sarah’s baby Cousin, she’s growing up so fast. She’s already learning her first words and she’s already learning how to suck on her cigarettes instead of the pacifier. Everyone is so proud.
Sarah has great difficulty breathing everywhere she goes. Her teacher, cigarette in hand, has written several concerned notes home to Sarah’s parents about Sarah’s constant coughing. Her cough is terrible and loud and disrupts the class. The other students, puffing away, never understand why Sarah can’t just be like everybody else.
Sarah sees the school nurse almost daily. “Sarah!” the nurse says, flicking her cig over the ash tray and flipping through notes on her clip board. “Your blood pressure is aweful, and your wheezing only seems to get worse.” Another note went home, urging Sarah’s parents to take her to the doctor.
Sarah’s dad read the note at dinner and was so furious, he smoked five cigarettes before he even finished his plate. Sarah’s mother just sat at the table, one cigarette in each hand, and simply scowled at Sarah with contempt. “This is what I’m talking about,” Sarah’s mother barked. “You need to go to bed earlier and stop talking on that damned cell phone until 2a.m!”
“Are you kidding?” her father blurted out after lighting up another. “She’d be fine if she just had a cigarette.”
“Dad!” Sarah’s supportive older brother protested, “It’s her choice! It’s a free country! She doesn’t have to smoke if she doesn’t want to!”
“BRIAN GO TO YOUR ROOM!” Roared Sarah’s dad, as Sarah’s mother shook her head in disgust at Brian’s rebelliousness. Brian got up and stormed up the stairs. Sarah’s father angrily took another bite out of his turkey drum. “It’s OK not to smoke? Next he’ll be saying she doesn’t have to bathe!” He muttered. Sarah sank in her seat and tried to disappear.
Some kids at school are nice like Brian, or at least they try to be. “I don’t care if you don’t smoke,” Gina, a girl in Sarah’s science class, often tells her. “I mean, your just not smoking. It’s not like you’re not going to school or not changing your clothes. If you don’t want to smoke, that’s your choice.”
At P.E. class that Friday, Sarah collapsed as the class did their normal exercises in the smoke-filled gymnasium. Paramedics rushed in and put Sarah on a stretcher and into a smoke-filled ambulance. Sarah was sent to the hospital. Her parents were called to meet her there.
At the hospital, through the plumes of smoke throughout the building, a lung specialist, smoking a Newport, examined Sarah for over three hours as Sarah’s parents argued with the insurance company over the phone about covering the bill. The doctor eventually approached the parents after the examination. He put out his cigarette in the ash tray part of the trash can and lit up
another, and offered Sarah’s parents a light.
Then he said, “We can’t figure it out. We’ve done everything, all the tests we know. We can’t understand why her lungs don’t function normally.” The doctor prescribed a sleep aid for Sarah, since her Mother told the doctor that she thinks Sarah isn’t sleeping right. “She just coughs all night long,” said her mother to the doctor. “And she’s always exhausted.”
Nobody understood Sarah.
Sarah is an asthmatic in a world of smokers. But nobody knows what “asthma” is. They all just think she’s a freak.
I am so tired of hurting and being hurt, so tired of feeling constant pain like a sick cancer patient. Constant pain from others’ lack of understding, lack of care or interest in understanding, lack of love and the time of day. It hurts so badly that I surprise myself that I’ve lived with this pain as long as I have.
Loneliness is not dreadful. Loneliness is peace. In loneliness no one can hurt you, no one can leave you out. No one can make you cry. No one will push you around. No one can make you feel afraid.
I strive to be alone. Completely alone and I’ll build a ten foot cement wall around myself so nobody can get in, and I’ll finally not have to hurt any more.
“California Teen gets 21 Years for Killing Gay Student.”
He was shot twice in the back of the head at point-blank range, in front of his classmates.
To all the homophobes out there. Regardless of your personal opinions and hate … What is more reprehensible? Being gay, or murdering an innocent person simply because you don’t like who or what they are?
The hatred is so disgusting and sad. I don’t get it. I don’t want to. It’s absolutely tragic.
And how do you think stores like these affect gay kids in schools who are already scared enough?
I see us everywhere.
At the supermarket, at the mall, at restaurants. The girl who stocks shelves, who has short hair and wears baggy jeans and has a masculine swagger. Same sex pairs of women who always regularly shop together. Male customers whose hips sway a little too conspicuously, and whose voices ring a little too femininely, whose clothes are a bit too form-fitting, whose hairstyles are too painstakingly neat or precariously uniqe, and who carry themselves in such a way that is noticably different than the rest of the men.
I see those brave enough to choose to deliberately stand out. The occasional few with rainbow belts on their jeans… or rainbow bracelets on their wrists… or a same-sex pair that is daring enough to hold hands in public. They dare to be different. To stand out. To reveal themselves.
I feel the oppression that we gays must continuously endure. On my “patrol” at the mall, passing Kay Jewlers and the other jewlery stores, with huge banners of heterosexual couples kissing and holding each other. Bridal shops with women holding the hands of their husbands, or husbands-to-be… At the mattress outlet, with its numerous pictures of men and women lying next to each other. As I stroll through the mall I hear love songs playing through the ceiling speakers, men singing about women, women singing about men, as I see teenage boys and girls amble from store to store, hand-in-hand, one’s arm around the other, practically frollicking thorugh the mall as they enjoy each other. The only place in the mall you’ll find even the slightest clue that gays exist is at Hot Topic, with its radical and rebellious tee shirts, pins, and bracelets, many with rainbow imagery or designs. I’ve come to the conclusion that there are few places as intensely, yet covertly, heterosexist as the suburban American mall. It is a kingdom where heterosexist ideals, traditions, values, and expectations are heavily reinforced on the walls, on windows, and among the heterosexual patrons who feel welcome and comfortable in being and displaying who they are.
What’s difficult for me to understand is why it’s so difficult for heterosexual people to realize how oppressive this society still is towards gays. IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT GAY MARRAIGE. Why do people think that’s the only issue left to reconcile? Many states, like mine, will adamately stand by their anti-descrimination laws, which protect race, religion, national origin, age, and sexual discrimination… but sexual-orientation is somehow notoriously absent. So if an employer arbitrarily fires a male employee who spoke of his boyfriend, there’s no “category” in the drop-down menu when he’ll try to file a discrimination complaint.
I don’t understand why so many straight people ignore the issues and nearly all would say “I wouldn’t care” if a gay couple walked by holding hands. Clearly, a lot actually would and do care, because for the few and brave gay couples that do pass by holding hands, they receive stares, heads turn, and many of these couples will be publically harassed or victimized. Clearly, the heterosexual people who do care are less willing to admit, or less able to recognize, how homophobic they actually are. Like my mother, who will stubbornly insist she has no problem with gays, when she OBVIOUSLY does.
I have a story I feel too few people are willing to hear. In a country that claims it has liberty and justice “for all,” why have so many groups (blacks, women, jews) had to struggle and fight and even die for their equality? Their struggle now is recognized, but my struggle seems still too unfamiliar for the public-at-large to be willing to see or understand. It seems like an extremely small minority of straight people are willing to see and listen and understand what it’s like for gay people… but the rest seem hopelessly blind and deaf to the suffering.
Why can’t more straight people open their eyes to see what I see? What we see? What I hear? What we hear? My world is a completely different world than theirs, even as we occupy the same spaces.
Thank you for those of you who read this.
At the store today, just leaving after a 6 hour shift (a shorter shift since my hours got cut), I happened to see a shelf of romance novels in one of the aisles.
On nearly every cover of each book was an image of a man with a woman. A few of the covers I thought were on the verge of being too provocative to be located in a grocery store. One had a man and woman, one on top of the other, kissing passionately on a bed.
One of the few that did not showcase a man and woman on the cover displayed just a man, shirtless and bearing a six pack abs. I wanted to stay open minded and thought to myself, maybe this one is about gay romance. A skim of the back of the boook proved me wrong: the story was about a man and his sexual adventures with another woman.
There was no gay romance anywhere on that shelf. And I thought, “Why not?” Is it because adults think it would be innappropriate, in case children would see two men kissing on the cover? Or a woman with her fingers sifting through another woman’s hair?
What does this say, having no homosexuality featured in these sex books? It may say different things to different people. To someone insisting that we now live in a world of equality and beyond oppression, that person might suggest that perhaps all the gay novels were sold out.
To me it says that homosexual romance novels are not present because they are not sold there. It says 1) homosexuality does not exist. Not on that shelf, not anywhere. Second, it says that homosexuality, while it does not exist in reality, is still shameful and has no place with those books on that shelf, which feature normal sexual behavior and lust. Third, it says that homosexuality should remain hidden, and that for gay books . . . well, books like that... belong in their own “special” book stores for people who are into that sort of thing. . . that sick sort of thing… along with animal fetishes and other bizarre sexualities.
I’m so profoundly absent from the world around me—on all the hit radio stations where boys sing about girls and girls sing about boys… In commercials for Kay Jewlers and erectile dysfunction and men’s aftershave… just to name a few. Men and women, boys and girls, hold hands and kiss in public with little confrontation from others. When partners of the same sex do it, they face stares, harrassment, and sometimes even physical violence. Yes, even today.
Eventually you become so tired. Tired of not seeing yourself… Tired of not being seen. Tired of being by default invisible, and the tremendous effort it takes just to be seen… let alone seen as normal… Tired of feeling so isolated and knowing that so few people seem to understand or want to understand, or are even willing to understand. Tired of all the bigotry and ignorance. Tired of parents who are among the most bigoted and ignorant and say God hates gays. Tired of the widespread confusion when young gay people kill themselves, and how nobody seems to grasp why such talented young people—college students, with such seemingly bright futures and so much promise—are jumping from bridges, shooting themselves, cutting their wrists, overdosing on over-the-counter drugs, and hanging their gay selves in their bedrooms and basements… Tired of feeling defeated.