From: "L. Yanney"
Subject: Re: Put Us On an Island
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 1996 21:48:09 -0600
On Thu, 14 Mar 1996, Emily Rizzo wrote:
> As encouraged in my .sig, I get a good deal of e-mail from people
> of all ages in various stages of coming out to parents. Over the last
> year or two I've started gets inquiries from younger and younger people.
> While a few years ago people would come out in college, now they are
> coming out in high school. Right now I'm involved in a long exchange
> with a fourteen year old. He knows he's gay but lives in a small town
> and can't connect with anyone else who's out. He needs information, but
> can't receive suspicious mail at home (even an envelope from New York
> University would spark questions), can't make long distance calls from
> the family phone and of course doesn't have a credit card to order books.
Thank you, Emily. In a moment you transported me back 27 years. The
ache, the excitement, the terror. It was a time of utter certainty of
self, perhaps the only period of my life which I can describe so. Yet I
was without means to connect, to breach my isolation and reach others
At about 15 or 16 I sent a letter off to some notable lesbian. No return
address. Instinctively protecting the other person. A year or two
later, I rented a post office box in another town. Subscribed to a
couple of lesbian magazines--The Ladder and Ain't I A Woman--and
occasionally wrote another letter to the notable lesbian, still without a
return. Sending letters "out there" was some sort of sounding for me, a
method of navigation.
Later I did exchange letters with the notable lesbian. She was very
nice. But I did not feel the need for advice, so the correspondence did
not last long.
> While some cities and schools have glb teen clubs most don't. So what do you
> do with all those kids out there who know they are gay but can't do anything
> about out til they're old enough to have some money and mobility?
I dunno, but I am glad I came out when queers were monsters, not
victims. There was some mystique in it all. Pain, brutality, danger all
around, but also something that inspired strength--it cannot have all
come from within me. I'm glad I did not come of age after we started the
litany of "gay kids kill themselves," "gay kids are sad and miserable."
It may be truer than not, and we do it to gain sympathy in an effort to
make their lives better. But in the mean time, we may be doing these
kids a disservice. We vasilate between pity for these kids and fear of
them. We do little to inspire and strengthen them.
What we do best for them is live proud and fight hard. Live the
example. And what the kids in Utah are doing is an inspiration to kids
elsewhere. Yes, even those who have no gay clubs, and never will.
There's someone else out there, like them. Proud. Living. Fighting. Like
> Somehow establishing a wonderful Gayworld on a tropical paradise island
> doesn't seem like the right answer.
How 'bout a chunk of upstate Vermont?
Anyway, again, thanks Emily, on behalf of the kid I was. On behalf of
all the kids we once were. Thanks for fighting for the kids. For us.
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