I have been very fortunate to not feel the persecution that a lot of gays and lesbians have dealt with during their youth years. I guess in some ways I may be a youth coming out success story, also considering that I was raised during the early eighties in a small town in Virginia.
I was raised by my wonderful parents to stand up for what I believed in, not to allow anyone else's opinion of me to change my opinion of me, and always be true to myself. With that said I was very determined to stand my ground when I realized I was gay. When I entered high school in the ninth grade (around 14 years of age), I knew I was gay and so did my close friends. Of course most of them happened to be girls (surprise). My sexuality was never an issue for them and I can't help but believe that this was partly because it was never an issue for. I was GAY. Get over it!
My high school years were not as bad as some of the stories I have heard from friends. On occasion someone at school would say something hateful and judgmental about my sexuality and have no fear somewhere looming the corners of that hall was a champion of mine waiting to defend my honor. I remember once a guy (a typical high school jerk) said something as I walked by, before I could turn to address him (hoping to educate him), two of my "girlfriends" (I love that word when you are gay) were already asking him what his problem was. I never felt so loved and secure.
My best friend dated the captain of the football team. Right after they started dating they were going to see a movie that was all the rage. I wanted to go, she knew this, so when he came to pick her up that night she told him I was going to tag along to see the movie. His response was less than welcomed; he said, "I don't want that queer with us tonight, I want to be alone with you". My best friend looked him straight in the eye and said "you will never be alone with me, ever, if you say something like that again. Further, if you don't accept Chris we will not be dating". Needless to say I went to the movie and he and I became really good friends as time went on. I see him today and he always stops and talks. I feel through the efforts of my best friend I broke through a barrier to show I was "normal".
I remember waiting at one of my best girlfriends house one night, making cookies with her mom, waiting for her to come home from a date. When she did we ran upstairs, locked ourselves away in her bedroom to get all the dirt. It felt normal, it was fun, and I never thought anything different.
I look back on all these memories and am so thankful that I did what I did, the way I did it. My youth experiences are probably not the norm. But if I could tell the youth of today who are dealing with their sexuality one thing it would be, “You can be proud of who are and never be afraid of yourself" I can also tell say that you will be so surprised to find out who will support you and be your "girlfriend" and "defender".
I am honored to be able to share a snapshot of my life, to relive those memories, and hopefully someone else out there can benefit from my past.
With peace and God’s love.
Under the same sky,