(Written by guest blogger JustAnotherTeen.)
Karen has graciously asked if I will write about once a month here, so this is my first regularly scheduled post. I will likely post on the first Monday of every month unless I have something that I urgently want to write about. If anyone has any questions or ideas for more blog posts, please email me at email@example.com. But on to the post at hand!
Coming from an ultra-conservative family (for more click on the Guest Blogger category), I was not exposed to gay people until I started attending my current school. One of my earliest memories about homosexuality was when I was in third or fourth grade. My parents were talking to another person after church and he said something about lesbians. I, being the inquisitive child, asked what lesbians were. My parents seemed embarrassed and said we would talk about it at home. At home, they probably only explained by saying God didn’t like it when people were lesbians, I don’t remember exactly.
After this experience, I don’t remember any close encounters of the homosexual kind until I was in high school. I was home schooled for two years and worked cutting grass with some people from church. One of these men was a “former” homosexual who used to work at Disney World. (My parents believe that Disney World is the most evil place on earth, not the most magical.) I never even thought about this man’s homosexuality at the time, and contrary to what conservative churches sometimes imply, he did not sexually abuse me.
My next experience was when things really started to change. When I came to my school, I thought it was horrible that they would let an openly gay guy have a leadership position. While I did not believe I was homophobic, I still mostly held my parents’ belief that gay people were bad. However, due to the atmosphere of my school, I got to know more than one person who was gay, and realized that it really doesn’t matter. I realized that not liking gay people is just another form of discrimination, and is just as bad as racism. I realized that gay people are just people, and that they have real emotions and are still terribly mistreated sometimes.
Then later in the year, one of my closest guy friends was practically forced out of the closet in the worst way. A “friend” of my friend and his secret boyfriend eavesdropped and told practically the whole school that they were dating, despite the fact that my friend was not out of the closet. I did not know he was bi at the time, and regardless I wanted to beat some people up for spreading these rumors, false or true. (And I must say that the idea of my puny self beating someone up is highly unlikely!) My friend told me he was bi, and this shocked me a little, mostly because he and I were such close friends. I didn’t care, it just came as a surprise. That event blew over and my own sexuality started to emerge. I knew I had fantasies about men, but I also liked women. This didn’t completely confuse me as I already had a bisexual friend.
I had my first sexual experience, before my girlfriend, with another boy. We started off cuddling and progressed further in what can only be considered an experimental one-night-stand. After this, I was worried about my own sexuality being revealed the same way my friend’s was. I did NOT want it to come out that way, so I posted about it on my blog. Even though I am at a very accepting school, coming out was still very hard for me to do. It meant going against my parents and hoping that there would not be backlash from my friends. Thankfully, my friends and the other people at my school could care less. Coming out was a painless experience for me.
But I know this is not the case for a lot of teenagers. Lots of gay or bi teenagers either want to come out, but can’t, or want to stay in the closet. I had a very easy situation, and honestly cannot imagine the angst some people have had to go through about their sexuality.
Why in our modern society do teenagers and even adults feel they have to hide their sexuality?
Why do people not all accept everyone for who they are, not what they want them to be?
Why do people think it’s OK to be homophobic or just plain not like homosexuals when it is not OK to be racist?
Why are gays and lesbians not given the same rights as everyone else?
Because the people in charge come from a generation where sexuality was considered a societal expectation, not a personal choice. Eventually, I think and hope, there will be more equality and better civil rights for all.
For what it’s worth, one night of experimentation doesn’t mean you are gay, or bi. It just means you were curious.
I admire your willingness to see other people for what they are, and not buy into the homophobic hatred that abounds in the world.
For me, the labels of hetero, bi or gay are not that interesting. I see it more as a continuum, not an either/or kind of situation.
This weekend while training a group of adults to teach a class for parents of middle schoolers, in which I had included a section on GLBT teens and how to create a safe environment for children to come out to their parents, I discovered that two of the trainers had serious issues about teaching that section of the class. I naively thought these people, being well-educated, would agree that this was important information for parents. It was a wake-up call for me. I do, however, have hopes that today’s teenagers will make a significant difference in changing the entrenched attitudes that older generations have not been able to alter and I appreciate your blog on the topic.
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