Savage on Coming Out
I read the following posts in Savage Love tonight and just wanted to share. If you haven't already read them, I suggest you do so. Savage's response to the first letter is beautiful and the second letter made me teary:
I'm in my final year of high school and I decided to come out as a lesbian – a very foolish move as I live in a small town that's not exactly brimming with tolerant people. But I know there are other closeted people at my school and I figured if none of us ever take the first step, it won't ever get any better around here.
But the response from my peers was worse than I expected. It's nothing too terrible, no physical violence, and in the beginning I could cope. But it's been a while now and I guess I need some advice. It just isn't getting better and I'm getting tired of it.
I have to park two streets away so people don't write shit on my car, someone's hacked my user account and deleted important coursework, I'm either told I'm dressing like a dyke or trying to be a girl depending on what I choose to wear on any given day. I'm avoiding classes that I don't have friends in because even if nothing is said (though it often is), the atmosphere is horrible. And none of this is that big a deal compared to what others have to go through, I know, but I'm sort of at the end of my tether.
Reporting it to staff is useless because they just tell me there isn't any proof and do fuck all. I've got some teachers looking out for me, but they can't really do anything either. I have some supportive friends, thank God, but it's all just becoming a bit too much, and I need some advice on how to cope through the last few months until I can get out of this shithole town.
Here's what you need to do, TALI: look in the mirror every morning and tell yourself that is the nadir, the bottom, the worst it's ever going to get. Once you get out of your high school and out of your shithole hometown and get your ass off to college – to a big state school or private secular university – you won't be the only out queer any more. Hell, you'll be surrounded by out fags and dykes and bisexuals. I can't promise you that you'll never encounter a bigot again, of course, or that all the fags and dykes you meet over the course of your life will be good people. But you will never again feel as vulnerable or persecuted or alone as you do right now.
And while you're talking to yourself in the mornings, TALI, tell yourself this, too: "Fuck my school, fuck my classmates, and fuck this town." The shits conspiring to make you miserable, TALI, are unlikely to have lives anywhere near as interesting as the one on which you're about to embark. Your classmates are making you miserable now because they know, deep down in their little black hearts, that their lives are going to be duller than day-old douche water compared to yours. Their lives aren't going to be dull because they're straight, TALI, but because the value they place on conformity – that's the reason they feel they have a right to abuse you now – is a prison they've constructed around themselves.
Right now they're making you feel like an outcast, TALI, and the malice stings. But what exactly are they casting you out of? Your high school? Their asshole cliques? That shit town? You haven't been cast out, TALI; you've been liberated. Freed. Sprung.
If only every kid in high school could hear that.
Four months ago, my mom walked in on me messing around with my boyfriend in our garage. I'm also a boy, age 15, and I hadn't gotten around to coming out to my parents yet. I felt bad that my mom had to find out by seeing what she saw. I stayed in my room crying until my father came home. They called me down to the kitchen and told me they loved me and that they were very, very sorry if they had ever done or said anything that made me feel like I couldn't be open with them about who I am.
My boyfriend is 17. He came out to his parents at Christmas, and our parents met for the first time last night. We don't have a question. We just wanted to thank you and thank all the other gay people who came out back when it was much tougher to do so. Our parents wouldn't have reacted the way they did if it weren't for all you guys that already came out.
We're Out Now
Thanks for the sweet note, WON. It's too bad that all teenagers, gay and straight, don't have parents as loving and supportive as yours.