The Internet, Labels, and Jodie Dallas

billy-crystal

The internet allowed me to find out if I was alone in the world, if I was the only one that had the same attraction.  At the time to me gay was the Jodie Dallas character from Soap – a sad sack that never was taken seriously by his family, and was unable to find happiness with another person that was similar to him whom he could divulge his thoughts and feelings to.  This was still a typical and normal portrayal of homosexuality in the early & mid-1990s, and Soap was from the late 1970s.  The majority of adults who I interacted with through the internet, while I was in high school, reinforced my Jodie Dallas induced greatest fears of being gay, of being different.

The few gay teenagers I met through the internet seemed braver than I, asking to meet immediately.  I made up excuses and reasons as to why that couldn’t happen.  They had already labeled themselves and claimed to have said as much to their parents.  I was intimidated, being exceedingly reluctant of labels, fearing their permanence.  I wasn’t ready to be placed in the wrong box.  I didn’t want to participate in an imaginary process and embarrassment of changing labels.

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