I’m in my final year of high school and I decided to come out as a lesbian – a foolish move as I live in a small town that’s not exactly brimming with tolerant people. But the response 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 it just isn’t getting better. People 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. None of this is that big a deal compared to what others 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 need some advice on how to cope until I can get out of this shithole town.

Tired And Losing It

Here’s what you need to do: Look in the mirror every morning and tell yourself that this is the worst it’s ever going to get. Once you get your ass off to college, you won’t be the only out queer anymore. You’ll be surrounded by out fags and dykes and bisexuals. I can’t promise you that you’ll never encounter a bigot again, 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 persecuted or alone as you do right now.

And while you’re talking to yourself, tell yourself this, too: “Fuck my school, fuck my classmates and fuck this town.” 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. Not because they’re straight, 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, and it 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; you’ve been liberated. Freed. Sprung.

I’m a 16-year-old gay boy in an evangelical Christian home. I forgot to clear the history off the computer after looking at pornography one day last October. I got yelled at until I cried that night, again the next morning, and every day for two weeks. I wasn’t allowed to use the computer for a year, and I was forced to attend church nightly. The electronics embargo has ended, but I’ve been forced into the closet by my parents. My mom tears up every time I say that I don’t have a girlfriend. My dad sends me links to anti-gay articles that describe homosexuality as unnatural and an abomination. Once I made the mistake of sending an article back to him countering his points and he stormed into my room and broke both my cell phone and MP3 player in half. Will I ever be able to come out? Or will I have to lie to my parents and wait for them to die?

Christian Parents Angrily Chastise

Your vicious, clueless parents are abusing their authority and their power, which can make it tempting to fantasize about their deaths. Hell, I’m tempted to come over and kill them myself. But your only option right now, I’m sorry to say, is to lie to them. Tell your parents what they want to hear: “It was just a phase, I was just curious, I’m totally straight, Jesus is the only dude I’ll ever get on my knees for.” Get yourself a fag hag, delete gay web-browsing histories and bide your freakin’ time.

In two short years you’ll be an adult, and you’ll be able to come out – even better, you’ll be able to demand an apology for the emotional and spiritual violence your parents inflicted on you. If one isn’t forthcoming, refuse to see your parents or have anything to do with them. They’re currently using all the leverage they have as parents to make sure you’re closeted. Once you’re an adult, you’ll have to use the only leverage you have – your presence in their lives – to make them into the loving, respectful, supportive parents you deserved all along, and that it’s not too late for them to become.

Four months ago, my mom walked in on me messing around with my boyfriend. (I’m also a boy, age 15.) 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 came out to his parents at Christmas. Our parents met for the first time last night. We don’t have a question. We just wanted to thank you and all the other gay people who came out back when it was much tougher. Our parents wouldn’t have reacted the way they did if it weren’t for you guys.

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.

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