|Growing up as a child who is gay is not easy. One
certainly learns very quickly that gay is "not acceptable."
It is the fear that one will be found out that governs ones life. It is the belief that telling anyone would be a sheer disaster. Whether or not this is true remains to be seen. Nevertheless the torment that one feels is sometimes overwhelming.
It is this very fear that often leads to lying to family, friends, and co-workers. It is this lying that leads to alienation from friends and co-workers. This is due to the feeling that one never really knows if one would be accepted for whom they really are.
I suspect that those who discover that they are gay in their twenties suffer as well. The major difference is that those of us, who have known all along that we were gay, have dealt with it longer.
If you are straight, then imagine this:
You do the best you can. You spend many, many lonely nights. When you talk to people that you find interesting you ask telling questions, talk about diversity, openness. You hope to find a kindred soul. Trust me; you are not hoping to convert anyone. You just want a friend. You also want a lover someday (soon) who is someone who chooses you.
Ah but we do work it out, gradually. And we eventually go to work. Only, we find out that we can be fired by our bosses if they find out. Oh, even if they only guess, the boss may just make life hell for you. You find that the work hours that you are assigned are the worst. You notice that your evaluations go gradually down. And you have been working as hard or harder. You ask your boss but he doesnt give you a valid answer. And so it goes..
This all plays out in the mind of the young gay male or lesbian. It
effects each of us differently. Some of us withdraw, withdraw withdraw. Some of us spend our lives
in and out of therapy either trying to become straight of trying to accept our being gay.
Some of us go on the offensive. There are some very hostile members of our group. They
probably have good reason to be hostile. The hostile ones are in the minority. Most of us
just quietly live our lives choosing our friends very carefully and going about our
business discretely. You don't notice us much unless we write web pages. ;-)
None of us ever forgets the torment or the fear. None of us is ever completely free of the fear that one day some angry straight person will try to harm us just because we are queer.
But then, in our society, just about anyone is a target anymore.
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