In high school, I didn’t go to parties because I wasn’t invited. If kids were doing drugs and drinking it wasn’t with me because no one asked. Popular was the jocks or musicians because they got all the attention; and paid attention to all the girls, and not to.
My high school façade was designed for survival, leaning heavily on the cartoonish geek persona from middle school. The comic books that had sheltered me in middle school became the defining trait in high school. The differences I had from other boys was easily masked by the label “geek.” I welcomed being considered a geek because it allowed me to avoid being ostracized as a “sissy.” While this got me socially accepted, it limited the depth of my character. I allowed peers to dictate my identity and silence my own interests. I strived to fit-in but gained attention because the adjectives that allowed me to nonchalantly shift cliques fixed a spotlight on me, and the impending question about my outsider status.
I knew acceptance wasn’t me being made into a token, but I sabotaged acceptance by defensively rejecting labels. Instead my rejection came from refusing my own skin, which was rooted in the denial that was needed in high school to survive.
In high school I met Luna, an openly butch lesbian. We ended up meeting over Erykah Badu, Live, in Freshman English. I do not know what Luna’s true feelings were towards me, but our friendship was one sided.
Luna seemed embarrassed by me and our friendship. She aligned herself with me while in school, but when it came to life outside of high school she dissuaded me from participating in the same, and only, local gay youth group. The handful of times that I asked Luna what happened at the meetings, she told me they talked about what was going on and their problems. When I followed-up with inquiries to go, Luna told me that I would hate them and that they weren’t filled with my people. Luna was confident in her identity, her labels – similarly to those in the youth group who had already presented to their parents – gave them the bravery to confront the world that I lacked.
After asking Luna those handful of times to participate, I got the hint that I was not welcomed into that part of her world. I could not discern what it about myself that kept me from being acceptable for a youth group targeted at my group. I had made my friendship wholly unconditional and fully. It was when I discovered the usage of the internet and Gay.com as linkage to fellow young gays, was I able to comprehend why.
The homosexual teenagers I conversed with through the internet, just as the youths in the gay youth group, had an acceptable idea gay youth: Bruce la Bruce models. Repeatedly from the other teens, who lied that they were 18 as well for access, I was not an acceptable because of comic books. The geek façade that protected me in the halls of school isolated me from the homosexual community because I didn’t appear to fawn over pop-idols as porn stars.