Growing Up Gay In Bedford: Part 3
By Anonymous, with Chuck Connell
I am a male student at Bedford High School. I have known I was gay since about sixth grade. I play sports and I’m a solid student. I am also in the closet to everyone except my family.
I am very concerned about being found out at school, since I doubt my friends and teammates would be supportive. It's no exaggeration to say that my life, as I know it, would be destroyed if my secret were found out. Most likely, I would have to finish high school somewhere else. Growing up in a small town like Bedford doesn't give you a very good shot at being able to move to a different social group – there just aren't many.
As I am sure readers understand, this is a tough issue to talk about. I won't say I'm even secure with myself right now. This is one of the hardest ways I can think of for a kid to grow up. It is getting more difficult to hide the fact I'm gay, since most guys are expected to date in high school and most relationships are driven by physical intimacy.
I guess I started feeling an unusual interest in other guys when I was in fifth or sixth grade. I can't remember actually having the realization “I'm gay”; it always seemed rather natural. During the latter part of middle school and first year of high school, I cried many nights, realizing the life ahead of me wouldn’t be an easy one. I really love children (in a healthy way) and seeing I would not lead a socially accepted family life was sad. It was a really tough struggle. I contemplated suicide several times, but eventually decided there were too many good things in life to live for.
It is common for students at the high school to make fun of homosexuals. In fact, anything that is bad or stupid is considered “gay.” I'm not going to say I feel like bursting into tears every time I hear this, but it makes me cringe a little and it wears on you. If other students knew I was gay, I'm sure there would be some teasing, but mostly a huge amount of awkwardness. People don't know how to act around gays. I've seen it when I am around openly gay kids from other schools. People don't know if the kid is “coming on” to them or checking them out. There's just a lot of awkwardness I couldn't deal with.
I find most teachers at BHS are outwardly supportive of diversity and the gay lifestyle. But that means little when there is no widely known “out” student in the whole school. Some teachers and coaches hold different opinions about gays. I know of a teacher who made fun of gays with students in the room. More often, though, it is the little things that adults at school do, or don’t do. For instance, teachers don't react to hearing people called “gay” or “fag” – they seem to accept it as commonplace slang. If a teacher or coach were to hear racial slurs, I'm sure they would confront the speaker. It hurts to think about our adult leaders having such a problem with homosexuals.
My parents say they'll love me no matter what, but they would definitely prefer me to be straight. They treat me almost with pity, like there's something wrong with being gay. Sometimes they cry. I mean it's not like I have cancer or am going to die. It's simply that I'm different.
I never chose to be gay. Trust me, I doubt many homosexuals would. Whether it's psychological or biological doesn't really matter. The fact is some people are gay and research has proven we're pretty much stuck with it. Rather than telling us what is immoral or what violates the sanctity of marriage, step into our shoes for a minute. It's not easy. If I continue to live a Christian life, I will never be married and never have romantic love. How can married people say another type of person can't share this with someone? Isn't that what humans are wired to do? Imagine living without your spouse, without having children to love and cherish, and without the societal acceptance you have. Think about that, and then think about your treatment of homosexuals.
The primary author of this article wishes to remain anonymous. Chuck Connell is a consultant and writer in Bedford, MA. This is the third in a series of articles about growing up gay in Bedford.
Published in the Bedford Minuteman newspaper on September 8, 2004. Copyright Herald Media Inc.