From: "L. Yanney" 
Newsgroups: soc.motss
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 
like me.

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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