Posts Tagged ‘gay youth’

Tell me, who wouldn’t like the chance to re-create a portion of their time in high-school? No matter how popular – or not, one might have been, it’s the most quirky time for kids. Fitting in to a new body, both physically and emotionally as well as trying to fit in socially – somewhere between childhood and adulthood. Face it, that’s not easy.

For gay kids it’s even more difficult. It was for me. Things weren’t as difficult for me as some of the stories we’ve heard in the news lately. High school was actually a bit easier than elementary and junior high school where the teasing was never-ending.

In high school I never felt in harms way and there was never any physical aggression towards me, but I was the kid in high school that was called “faggot” as well as the kid who had the word FAG carved into his locker. I tried to ignore it. Pretending that the problem didn’t exist only made the isolation greater.

Last night’s episode of Glee made me realize that my time in high school was more like Kurt Hummel’s than I had remembered. Kurt is the gay kid at the fictional McKinley High in Lima, Ohio. Like Kurt, my high school crush was a guy on the football team. We palled around often, skipping class and taking off on his motorcycle for an hour or two.

Also like Kurt, I aspired to the pop-musical group known at the South Singers. Unlike most high school musical groups in the Twin Cities, the South Singers wore polyester slacks and open collared shirts – and let’s face it, that was really something to aspire to in the early 1980’s. And while the South Singers never really made it (legal issues with the director) the Tigerettes, our dance line always went the state championships.

And like Kurt said in last night’s episode, “…but most of all, I’m not challenged in the least here,” I too was bored in school. Completely and utterly bored. Classes were easy (except for Algebra 2). Nothing in high school challenged me academically, so I took part-time class at the Vocational Institute, where I found I was kind of bored too – but at least it was away from school itself.

Our school’s population was diverse enough that I could hang out on the periphery of certain groups. For example, I had a couple friends who went to Soviet summer camp on the Baltic sea. And another friend who played violin and spent her summer on the Trans-Siberian railroad. And like Kurt, another friend was a kid in a wheel chair who played on the handicapped hockey team. We were all misfits to a certain degree.

But unlike Kurt, I didn’t have the resources that gay kids have today. And unlike Kurt, I wasn’t “out” – no one in high school was then. Granted, what’s available for gay kids today isn’t perfect, but it’s much more than what was available for kids in 1982.

So last night when I saw Kurt visit the fictional all-boys school in Westerville, Ohio and see for the first time that there is a different reality that can be lived, I was jolted back into my high school years wishing that that was me.

I wished that I could have found something completely and utterly astonishingly different at such an early age. That I could have had a “Blaine” to hold my hand and run with me through the school’s commons. There were no songs on the radio that related to my situation. To have had the most handsome boy at school sing a song to me would have made me the proudest boy in the school.

But there were no role models at that time. The only thing that kept me going was knowing deep down inside of myself, that I was okay just the way I was and that sooner or later I’d meet people like myself. I don’t know how I knew that because nothing around me reinforced that belief. But somehow I knew it.

It took years and years to discover these people and I can only wonder what life would have been like if it had happened earlier. I’m okay though with how things turned out.

Life does get better. And maybe I started feeling that way just a little bit back then, when I was riding around on the back of the motorcycle that belonged to the most handsome boy at my high school.

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