I grew up in a suburbia that wasn’t ticky-tacky little boxes, but a nostalgic Mayberry: students walked to school, left campus to eat lunch in the village, and formed cliques based upon clothing labels; there was a dairy to buy milk fresh from the cow and boutiques that were hobbies for doctor wives. The school district is heavily focused on academic success and rigor, but not grit or character; children were taught to be students and not to interact with educators. We were academically prepared but street smarts were not taught between Great Expectations and chemistry.
I never fit the mainstream suburbia of backyard pools, unlike the other gay boys. Rebellion was the order while I strived to fit-in, gaining accidental attention through an outsider status. I was counter-culture preferring to explore after hours and away from school sponsored clubs. I was different and I knew it, but didn’t wish to be separated from the herd. By exaggerating what didn’t fit homogeneity I created a smokescreen of descriptors against isolation, hoping no one would the gay. I sabotaged acceptance by defensively rejecting labels and tokenism. I allowed peers to silence my identity and interests – a little for all but not everything to one; and no one to me.