I failed my friend when he reached out to be a friend. I was not at a point in my life then when I was ready, willing and wanting to admit the truth to myself – I'm Gay!
As young children, my friend was an effeminate young boy like me. We laughed a lot and teased each other. We talked about our boy crushes when we didn't know it was wrong. I remember the innocence of those conversations.
It was when we entered our teen years that I couldn't be different. I was already odd. I struggled against my own life. Parents divorcing. Alcoholism. Sexual Abuse. Hormones surging through my teen body. My body betraying me. Lots of confusing thoughts about who I was and who I could be.
He came to me during our high school years. He was still the same. He was as effeminate as I remember him to be. He tried to tease me. He reached out to me to be my friend. I am ashamed to say, I recoiled in disgust.
High school was not an ideal time for me. I was bullied. I was touched without my consent by the jocks who thought it was funny. They tried to stick me in my locker. They took joy in making me uncomfortable.
My friend committed suicide while we were in high school. I know the decision about suicide is personal. What I know is that it leaves families and friends struggling with why? If only? How come?
I have spent a great deal of my adult life coming out, standing tall, speaking out against homophobia, and living my truth. Still to this day, over two decades later, I think about my friend. I wish at times he was here. I wish for our conversations about men and love.
On the days I want to feel sorry for myself or don't appreciate my life then I remember. I'm ALIVE! I don't know why but I am here. I may never know 'why' but my friend isn't here to struggle with those existential questions or quandries.
Here is to my friend. I miss you dearly.
In your honor:
I refuse to be afraid of being around someone because they are unique. I refuse to alienate them because they are different. I refuse to ostrocize them because society doesn't deem them as appropriate.
I will be there as their biggest champion. I will cheer them on. I will be the one in their corner. I won't allow another human being pass by me unrecognized. I want them to know, I appreciate their courage. And damn it, show the world YOUR TRUTH - Fuck 'EM!