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Changing the world
one mind at a time
Why am I having flashbacks again? 
6th-Sep-2002 01:49 am
me
I just posted a review of Joining the Tribe by Linnea Due to glbt_books, but I couldn't post there why it is the book got me so riled up. You see, I too was coming out in the period when the book was written. I came out in high school. But unlike the people in the book, I didn't have internet connections, or support groups, or much of anything. All I had was a boyfriend who I loved, and friends who kept stabbing me in the back. I remember going to the County library, and finding three books concerning homosexuality, and all three of them were anti-faggot. I tried the high school library, but it didn't have anything. Hell, I did every report I could on AIDS, or gay rights, or anything I could find that was tangently related to being gay in America just to have the reassurance that there were other gay people out there. And I also donated much of the material I had bought to the High School library for them to use in their vertical file. I wanted so badly for anyone who came after me to be able to find that someone had gone before and had survived the process. I mean, I understand the isolation the kids express in the book quite well. I was there. But other than Mike, I had no one I could really trust in my immediate aquantences with anything that was important to me. Hell, the only reason I managed to get my shit together in the first place was a random camp encounter in 1991, where one of my counsellors was a lesbian. She actually ran a program on being gay. And it was then I finally got my shit together long enough to begin coming out. I owe Dakota Walker a lot for that.
Kind of funny. These days I have no qualms about picking up GLB lit or magazines, as long as they aren't pornographic.(I still have my isses with that. The way I figure, if I want porn, I have an internet connection.) I remember a time when it took all my courage, three trips to a store, and finally getting it in the middle of the night just to buy a copy of Out magazine.
And I get to college, and most of the people in Lambda have either been out quite successfully for a long time, or have just started coming out. And none of them could understand why I felt like I had been fighting for so long at 18.
And now, I look and see that one teacher has come out at Urbana. Yeah, I hear she went through hell, but where was she when I was being harrassed? Two is stronger than one. Yeah, the class four years behind me had a few same-sex couples, who have no fear of expressing it. Mike and I could never do that. Now, finally, my hometown is slowly acknowledging that it does indeed have gay people, and is actually taking steps to support them. But that wasn't there for me, or for Mike.
And I know that this is a good thing. Someday soon, no one will have to endure the hell of small-town fag-bashing, just as I actually had the power to come out in High School, instead of waiting until college, or until after being married and having kids. But it still hurts. And I find myself hoping that no one ever has to go through that again. And yet, I still see ignorence among people, I hear people screaming about fags going to hell. And I know that we still have so far to go.
And I'm sorry to take up bandwidth with what amounts to a "no one feels my pain" rant, but it's been building up for a while.
Comments 
5th-Sep-2002 11:37 pm (UTC)
Now, finally, my hometown is slowly acknowledging that it does indeed have gay people, and is actually taking steps to support them. But that wasn't there for me, or for Mike.

In my hometown, the 1950s are still alive and well. I have met three other Gay people who went to the same high school, about 4-5 years later. I understand what you mean. The frustration of being a minority, any minority, while the majority acts like your feelings mean nothing is really harsh. Your feelings reminded me of the rants I sometimes make about the very same idea.

5th-Sep-2002 11:59 pm (UTC) - Re:
Yay, somone who understands my pain. The joys of rural Ohio living.
6th-Sep-2002 05:23 am (UTC)
I grew up in suburban Baltimore... and as far as I know, I was the only out person in a 2000 student school, much less the neighborhoods that fed the school. I still couldn't name a single person in 12 years of school that may have been gay, they were that far in the closet. I'm looking forward to my 20 year reunion next summer partially to see who finally dropped cover, lol...
I had it easy, tho... I'm a girl, I'm bi, and I'm a slut, so it worked in my favor ;)
6th-Sep-2002 10:45 pm (UTC) - Re:
LOL
Well, they say women have an easier time of it. But I still wonder if it's better to be a str8 male fetish than a rejected subhuman class of people.
7th-Sep-2002 02:52 am (UTC)
Better? No.... easier, maybe - the pressure is of a whole different nature.
6th-Sep-2002 06:27 am (UTC) - Old times are not forgotten!
My boss, at the pet store where I work part time, is also gay and told me of the times when he was growing up gay in his home town. It was a military town, and when he went to the bars they were frequently raided by local police along side military cops looking for misguided solders that were "sissy"! The owner of the bar would flash lights when she saw them coming to the door so that all of the customers could stop "carrying" on in a homo way! We, of today, have it much easier due to the progress fought for by our older queer friends. We can't let the ball drop and just lay down and play dead or times will reverse itself. If you don't believe that just look who we have running the government and convince yoursef that all is ok now.
6th-Sep-2002 10:44 pm (UTC) - Re: Old times are not forgotten!
Basically, we've come a long way, but we still have far to go.

I could be worse off. So many of the older gay men I have met start by telling me about how they married and had kids first, and how they can't believe how comfortable I am with being gay now. And I keep thinking I never really got a choice in the matter. And I agree, we should fight more. The problem is, as always, what fights we as a community should start with.
7th-Sep-2002 07:51 am (UTC) - Re: Old times are not forgotten!
The fight against hate in any fashion! When groups support hate we should boycott any business that supports it or uses a hateful person as an advertiser. They will soon find out how important "our" business is to them.
7th-Sep-2002 12:19 pm (UTC) - Re: Old times are not forgotten!
I have no problems with boycotts. The problem of course being that most of the boycotts I participate in (like Crackerbarrel) are not things I usually buy to begin with.
7th-Sep-2002 01:39 pm (UTC) - Re: Old times are not forgotten!
Remember orange juice! "Anita Briant", religious fanatic of religious fanitics.:-)
7th-Sep-2002 11:17 pm (UTC) - Re: Old times are not forgotten!
I though Ms. Anita had gone the way of 70's free love...
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