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Hello, my name is Will W and I'm gay. Alcoholics say about the same thing at AA meetings: "Hello, my name is Bill W and I'm an alcoholic." Alcoholism is considered a disease. But being gay is no longer considered a disease unless you happen to be my parents, the members of my church, and the kids at school.
My first gay experience, if you want to call it that, was
with a thirteen year-old neighbor boy. I
was fourteen, a sophomore in high school, and small for my age. Even though he was younger than me, we did a lot of things together. We lived in a small mountain town in
Running around naked soon became boring so we brought a blanket with us and laid naked on the blanket. I was ashamed and embarrassed because James was bigger in the sex organ department than me.
James, while younger, was more confident. "Let's beatoff," he said.
"I don't know. That's a bit gay isn't it? And besides, I'm embarrassed."
"Shit, you're already naked and sitting next to me with your thing sticking in the air. How can you be embarrassed? And this has nothing to do with being gay"
"You got a point."
At first I paid more attention to my thing than his, but the next couple times I began watching him until one day he says, "Let's see who can shoot first."
By then I was game, and of course, the kid beat me. He teased me "You let some young kid beat you and I have a lot more to work with, so it should take longer."
That kinda pissed me off because here he was a year younger than me and his was bigger than mine. "That doesn't make any sense."
"I realize that. Maybe we should do each other and see what happens."
He reached over and began massaging me and I came to life immediately. His did too.
That was the first time I thought I might be gay. I didn't touch him at first and just let him do me. It felt good.
Then he said, "Hey, this isn't a freebee. You need to do it me too."
I looked over at him and wanted to touch him but was still afraid. This was like forbidden fruit.
"Get movin, Will. I want that hand of yours on me now."
I did as the kid demanded. Yes, I keep calling him the kid because he was younger than me and he made me feel inferior. It was the only way to maintain my seniority.
We started doing this every time we had a chance to take off into the woods until the day he said, "My dad got a new job and we're moving."
We managed to make it into the woods a couple more times before they moved. Neither of us had the courage to do more than we'd already done. That was my first and only experience with a guy. But there wasn't and isn't any doubt that I am gay.
I missed James, and knew we'd have done more if he'd stayed, but he moved, and there I was, a gay boy, all alone with no other boy to share his experience.
After James left, I began watching a lot of YouTube videos by gay teenagers who talked about coming out. Some said it was hard. Most said it was the right thing to do. Many had support in their community and some didn't. But it all came down to being true to who you are and not living a lie. I didn't want to live a lie and decided I should be true to myself and brave enough to come out and tell everyone I'm gay. Yes, my name is Will W and I am gay. Ah, if it was only that simple.
I hoped that by coming out, other boys would come out, we could meet, and maybe do some of the things James and I did. But none of that happened. Gary and Jason were my two best friends at the time. We'd been best friends since elementary school, but the day I told them I was gay, our friendship ended. They didn't pick on me or push me around. They just ignored me. My parents are very religious and I expected they'd find it hard to accept, but knew they loved me and weren't going to kick me out of the house. What they did do was almost as bad. They treated me as if I was renting a room in the house. They only talked to me when they had to. By dad took my college fund and bought a new pickup.
School became intolerable. I had no friends. My old friends ignored me, and not one kid came up to me to tell me he was gay. I was isolated in the middle of 250 students, half of them guys. Not one of them talked to me except if they had to in class, and then it was with a bit of disgust in their voices. There I was Will W sitting in the second row, four seats back, with students all around me. It was like sitting the middle of the football field on Sunday. The teachers tolerated me because they had to, but often ignored the under the breath remarks made by the students sitting around me.
It was like I didn't exist. Instead of being known as Will Waters, I came to be known as The Gay Guy or The Gay Kid. In PE, all the guys looked at me like I was going to rape or molest them with my eyes. The real homophobes beat me up when no one was looking. Everyday someone or some group pushed me into the lockers and called me a fag. My only refuge was the classroom where I did the one thing I could do, which was to study and get good grades.
The hardest part was being ignored by kids I'd gone to elementary school with. They'd known me all those year and now I was just The Gay Kid. I'd expected the teachers to grade me lower, but they didn't, either because they were more tolerant than my fellow students or they were too afraid of a law suit. Who knew?
We read Man without a Country when I was in elementary school and that's the way I felt. I was a boy without friends, without respect, without anyone to talk to, without anyone. Well, that's not quite true. There was one girl. Her name was Jennifer. I'll never forget the day. I was sitting by myself as usual at a small table in the cafeteria on a Thursday when this girl sat down across from me. She stuck her out hand. "My name's Jennifer."
I thought she must have sat there by mistake so just looked up and said, "Hi."
"Is that all I'm going to get is a `hi'? Like I said, my name's Jennifer. What's yours?"
"You know my name."
"No. I went to a different elementary school than you and I'm only a freshman. I see you sitting here all the time by yourself so thought I'd join you. You look sad and lonely. So what's your name?"
"Haven't you heard? Everyone calls me The Gay Kid."
She didn't leave. "Oh, that's you? I didn't know that."
"If you had, I suppose you would have sat somewhere else."
"No I wouldn't. And I don't care if you're gay."
"You're the only one."
"Good, then we can be friends."
I didn't want to admit it then, but she was like ice on a hot summer's day. "Are you sure? People will talk. My old friends act like they never knew me. They don't pick on me or anything, but they stand by and watch when guys beat me up or push me into the lockers. It makes me wonder if they ever were my friends."
"Hey, we're in high school. What did you expect?"
I shrugged. "I guess I expected them to stand by me and support me. My parents barely tolerate me. My uncle, my dad's brother, is cool, but he never talks to me about being gay. It's like I never came out. I can live with that. At least he treats me like he loves me."
She smiled. "Well, this is a pretty religious and conservative community. Everyone probably figures you're going to hell."
"You're right there."
"You mean about going to hell."
"Yeah," I said. "I think God loves all of us. I pray a lot and it's gotten so that it's the only thing that's carried me through. I've thought about killing myself a few times." I couldn't believe I was telling her this, a girl I hardly knew. But it was so damn nice to have someone who actually cared about me and didn't find me disgusting.
"Life's too important to do that. You'll be out of here in a couple years and you can go tell them to fuck themselves."
I laughed. "I don't think I've ever heard a girl talk like that."
"I don't usually, but it just seemed right."
Jennifer became my only friend and helped me make it through my sophomore and junior years. Without her, I don't think I'd have ever made it. Without her, I was alone. My parents drug me to church every Sunday, hoping they might save my soul. I'm kind of a meek kid and went, not just because they made me, but because I believe in God and believe God loves me, gay or not. Too bad my parents or the members of our church don't believe it. During church services, adults and kids would look over at me. Sometimes, I'd see the younger ones pointing at me, and their parents telling them to stop it. Occasionally, the minister would talk about the evils of sex and homosexuality. And he always managed to take a quick glance at me.
Besides Jennifer and God, one other thing saved me, my smartphone. I bought it with my own money from a summer job I no longer had. Some of it was in my savings account. I opened a checking account and put the money in there so I could pay my phone bill every month. At least my parents continued to feed and clothe me. Otherwise, I don't know what I'd have done.
My phone gave me contact with another world where I spent my free time looking at porn and reading gay stories. After all, I am gay. What else can a lonely gay boy do? The amount of gay stories on the Internet really surprised me. Living in the mountains, I often went fishing by myself or took walks with Max, my golden lab. I almost forgot about Max. (Sorry Max) He was my closest and best friend. He stood by me. He didn't care if I was gay. I talked to him and cried with him. Max listened to me and didn't care about the tears on his back or on his neck as I hugged him close. If you took all my tears from the time I came out until the spring of my junior year, they would have filled buckets.
Jennifer and I talked every day. If I didn't see her at school, we'd talk on the phone at night. She didn't care if I cried. She didn't say only gay boys cry. She just let me cry as I tried my best to talk to her while wiping my runny nose and the tears from my cheeks.
"Don't worry Willy." She liked to call me Willy. "Everything will get better. Just hang in there."
"I think I'm going in the Army after I graduate."
"Don't do that. You could get killed."
"I know. I just as well be dead anyway. But what can I do. My parents aren't going to help with college. At least in the Army I can get some training, and they'll pay for college when I'm done."
"Maybe so, but there have to be other ways."
She stopped to think. "Well, you could go to community college."
"Yeah, but I'd still be here with the same people who hate me."
She giggled. "You gotta point."
"So the Army it is, and if I die, maybe it will finally put me out of my misery."
"Don't talk like that. You're special. You're smart. You'll make it. Believe in yourself. You're my gay best friend. And yes, if you weren't gay, maybe more than that."
"Sorry, Jennifer. But I'm gay and we'll just have to be friends."
"You're so cute. You're going to make me cry."
Jennifer didn't come to my house because of my parents, so I went to hers. We spent a lot of time in her bedroom talking. Most other guys would have killed to be in a girl's bedroom on a regular basis, but not me.
Her parents didn't mind me being The Gay Boy. That's probably why Jennifer didn't care either. They often fed me and were probably glad I was gay and not trying to seduce their daughter, who was a year younger than me. Jennifer's nice looking and has an enticing smile. Not beautiful, but nice on the eyes. She has a good figure. It didn't mean anything to me because I was far more interested in a guy's figure than a girl's.
We were in her bedroom lying next to each other on her bed one afternoon, when I turned my head to her. "I have to tell you something."
"I've been reading this gay story called Knots. It's about two boys and the knots they tie in their lives. You know. We all tie them. I tied a big one when I came out of the closet. Anyway, the idea of tying knots intrigued me. The image stuck in my head. There's some sex in it, but it's not the sex. It's the story. I love it when either of the boys, Matt or Andy, reflect on what they've done and how it affects them. It's like they're letting me in on their biggest secrets. I wrote the author a short email. I was a little afraid at first since I'm only seventeen and maybe too young to be reading these stories, so didn't tell him my age. He's older. I think in his seventies."
Jennifer gave me a look of surprise. "And he writes young adult gay porn?"
"Did he write you back?"
She rolled on her side to look at me. I rolled toward her. "Yeah, the next day. That was way back in April. He said thanks for following and told me he appreciated my nice comments. I kept reading and wrote him another email again telling him how much I liked his story. He wrote back right away with another thank you. It was then I started wondering if he'd be willing to be my mentor. I'm miserable and don't have an adult to talk too. I've been thinking maybe I could talk to him."
Jennifer rolled on her back as I did the same. She grabbed my hand and held it. "Do you think that's a good idea? Why don't you go online to well-known safe chat rooms and talk to other gay teens?"
"I made the mistake of listening to all that bullshit on YouTube and look where it got me. No other gay guys came out of the closet. I'm thrown against the lockers almost every day, and I'm a leper to everyone but you. Those YouTube videos made it sound like it was the right thing to do. The people on those chat lines will tell me to hang in there and be honest about who I am. They'll tell me how hard it was for them, but they're making it. And as you know, misery loves company, so I'd be hanging out with a lot of other miserable gay guys. Coming out sounds good when you see and hear them say it, but the reality in my life has given me nothing but despair. It might have been different if we didn't live in the boonies and went to a big high school. Why couldn't I be like everyone else instead of The Gay Kid?"
Jennifer squeezed my hand. "And you think this old guy is going to be able to help?"
I squeezed back. "I don't know, but it's worth a try. Things couldn't get worse. Maybe he's a wise old man. It seems like it from his writing."