on gay …

The taunting and harassment that I endured as a teen at the fairly liberal independent prep school that I attended was, in retrospect, almost nothing. Some of the pitiful losers found in just about any crowd threw in the occasional shoulder bump as they passed in the hall or worse, tossed about the dreaded declaration, “FAG!” as they passed, but fortunately for me taunting and harassment like that was occasional and a sporadic occurrence. Though I was “out” to absolutely no one, it was pretty obvious to most people that I was different. While I wasn’t exactly a flaming caricature, neither would I ever have been in the running to win a “hoss election” for “the MAN with the most testosterone …”

The harassment and oppression that I felt came not so much from my daily life as much as it did from the world at large. Coming of age as a young gay man at a time when fear of AIDS dominated the news and the culture wars were gaining momentum politically made being gay something that I absolutely hated about myself. At the time I didn’t know a single openly gay man or lesbian. An English teacher whose course I loved and who I respected greatly was rumored to be gay so, naturally, I avoided any contact at all with him outside of class. Society told me that I needed to feel ashamed of myself and I believed them … While I don’t ever remember considering suicide, I remember lying in bed on many, many nights hoping that I would just die before I woke so I just wouldn’t have to deal with all of it anymore.

I’m now a middle aged man and life is good. I forget, sometimes, what it was like to be young and different and to feel SO alone …

By the time I got around to coming out to those who loved me, most were just relieved to have the huge pink elephant in the room be acknowledged. Every single one of them knew and loved me anyway. I cry as I write, for my good fortune …

Four young gay men who have committed suicide in the last two weeks because of the taunting and harassment they’ve endured will never have the chance to feel as I do, that life is good …

Families and friends of four young men who have committed suicide because of the taunting and harassment they’ve endured will never have the chance to love their sons, brothers, friends …

We need to stop … Please just stop … When will enough be enough … ? No election is worth this … No belief is worth this … It is about more than being able to get married … It is about more than being able to dance on a float in a parade …

It is about stopping judgment … It is about tolerance … And maybe it is even about acceptance …

If you are a young gay man or lesbian out there please remember, “It gets so much better …” It really, really does … Don’t give that all away …

clipped from www.latimes.com
 

Gay teen endured a daily gantlet
 

As a gentle child grew into adolescence, the taunts and bullying intensified. Finally, Seth Walsh couldn’t take any more.

 

A grandfather's fond memory
 

When Seth Walsh came home from school, he would open the gate to a chain-link fence, walk beneath a tall red oak tree and be greeted by five dogs and two cats.
 

Seth lived with two brothers and a sister, four children from three fathers who were seldom around, supported by their mother who worked long hours as a hairdresser. Their home was a rental, a few blocks from Tehachapi’s main street.
 

He was 13, and in the eyes of his grandparents, Jim and Judy Walsh, he was just a normal kid, pushing into adolescence. They looked forward to watching him grow up and never imagined that the harassment he experienced as a gay teenager, or his suicide, would resonate across the country.
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One thought on “on gay …

  1. It seems, to me, that bullying is up on all fronts. These suicides are tragic. I am not sure why society seems to take enjoyment in the pain of others.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

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