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Homosexuality In America,” -- or-- How I found out I was “gay” at age 16, 1964.
#31
Stevie Wrote:. . . I wonder reading your posts whether or not your parents knew internally, like the gut feeling I had inside that knew I was gay, about you. It certainly seemed like your father might have known at some level. They always say "mother's know", and maybe the intuitive ones do, but it doesn't prevent them from being evil, or burying their head in the sand and pretending life is wonderful.
Well, like I said, in those days no one SPOKE of such things. I have no idea what my parents knew or didn't know, or may have suspected. Frankly, I just don't think my parents (and family in general at the time) even *thought* about such things.

I'll give you an example:

When I was 17 or 18 I approached my mother and this is how the conversation went:
  • "Mom I have something I need to tell you."

    "Oh? What is it?"

    "I think I'm gay."

    "What makes you think that?"

    "Well, I like boys better than I do girls."

    "Oh, I wouldn't worry about it, I've always liked women better than I liked men."

:eek:

I could have pressed the issue but when you get a reply like that from a parent it is a clear signal they're in denial and prefer to stay that way. I didn't know words like "denial" but I got the gist. Besides, I didn't really want to tell her anyway. I knew it would just lead to vast complications of an already difficult relationship.

But my mother was like this. I recall one time when I was much younger being concerned I was going crazy. This is because I frequently had "mystical" experiences as a child and kid. (They began to decrease in frequency when I was a teenager and I seldom have them at all now.)

Anyway, one time I was worrying about it and the conversation went like this:
  • "Mom I think I'm going crazy."

    "OH, honey, you're not crazy, you just see things that aren't there."

Rofl

As for my dad, he was a very closed off and shut down. He had depressive episodes. Truth be told, he and I are a lot alike. I'm not as harsh and insensitive as he was. He may have sensed my sexuality but that was so deeply buried, I doubt he even thought of it. I was the baby in the family, 10 years younger than my closest sister. I think this had a lot to do with my dad's perpetual irritation with me. I believe he was angry with himself and my mother for having gotten pregnant.

But, I was an "odd" child. It is very difficult to say how much of my "oddness" was due to my sexuality or vise versa. From his POV I was from another planet. That was my take on the situation as well. I had no idea who these people were or why I was amongst them. Biologically I was clearly their progeny but in terms of the way I looked at the world and thought about things and experienced things, I was an alien being.

Quote:. . . I think we all have a fairly good idea what would have happened to a police car, even a campus vehicle, being held hostage in the name of civil disobedience in this day and age. It wouldn't be pretty. Images of Tiananmen Square are brought to my mind . . .

Well, eventually things got out of hand as you may know. By May, 1969, the UC Berkeley campus and the city of Berkeley were under siege by 3,000 national guardsmen.

Sproul Hall (where the vehicle had been surrounded) five years later, in 1969:

[Image: 2000.1.709.jpg]

Students sit in protest outside Sather Gate, UC Berkeley Campus:

[Image: Corbis-BE061071.jpg?size=67&uid=c3395831...5edb90148a]

Original caption: 5/20/1969-Berkeley, California- The "ladies" are on the outside looking in as this group of female dissidents face bared bayonets of the National Guard who posted a picket line at the Sather Gate entrance to the University of California campus. 1,500 demonstrators were dispersed when they held an illegal rally.

Students were often engaged in "stand offs" with the National Guard.

[Image: thatcher44.jpg]

They even took over the down town section of Berkeley.

[Image: thatcher77.jpg]

Violence erupted along Telegraph.

[Image: thatcehr66.jpg]

Shooting at the roofs:

[Image: ashotroof.jpg]

Alan Blanchard was shot:

[Image: blanchar.jpg]

James Rector was shot and killed:

[Image: rectruf2.jpg]

At one point the governor, Ronald Reagan, had the campus sprayed with tear gas from a helicopter:

[Image: Peoples_Park_Tear_Gas.jpg]

[Image: 960x540.jpg]

[Image: tear_gas_berkeley_helicopher_.jpg]

In protest some students wore gas masks in their caps and gowns when they attended their graduation commencement. Three hundred students walked out of the proceedings.
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#32
Stevie Wrote:I think we all have a fairly good idea what would have happened to a police car, even a campus vehicle, being held hostage in the name of civil disobedience in this day and age. It wouldn't be pretty. Images of Tiananmen Square

Interesting enough I read a TIME article on the Kent State shooting which included comments by others outside the US, including China who gave a fairly reasonable course of action and saying China would never be so barbaric (or words to that effect). As I read this in 2000 (give or take a year) I already knew about Tiananmen Square.

I say that purely as trivia (I know I was interested by it). On a more personal level I didn't see cops as friends when I was a kid, and after time as a runaway I saw them as basically "the gang that isn't likely to be arrested for being a gang." Their only redeeming feature IMO back then was that most of them were too apathetic to bother us, but there were some real bullies and outright sadists among them (which the other cops turned a blind eye to), each with preferred targets. One was an old man into molesting runaway boys (he PROBABLY had to hide that from other cops, don't know), though most such predators preferred the girls.

I'm not quite as cynical today as I was then...but still fairly cynical and see the justice system (cops, courts, all of it) as more of a game we're sometimes forced to play rather than anything truly just (which explains why many criminals have less to fear from it than the law abiding), and the system also counterproductive in creating more crimes and social ills than it prevents.

As for cops specifically, my general observation is that cops tend to reflect the community, but unfortunately many communities are at least subtly hostile to gays so I can see why cops tend to have such a bad rep in the gay community. That, and cops often can't act in a meaningful way until an actual crime has been committed and then it's just another day on the job for them, something that grates on many crime victims (especially those who have lived a life of being terrorized, oppressed, etc). And I'll throw in that while my dad was royally screwed in court (in part due to his own stupidity as well as unfair use of the system against him) he pretty much got away with attempted murder at least twice with the restraining order against him unenforced unless it was the neighbors calling 911 (gods those were some scary times for me, and though I'm aware I can't help but be biased, I think I was screwed over more by the courts in that divorce than he was).
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#33
MikeW, I wanted to say thanks for sharing all that. And please forgive me if I'm a little incoherent as it's approaching 2 AM (I hadn't intended to stay up this late).

If you're curious, I don't think I realized I was gay until I was 17, though in retrospect it should've been obvious. While I dated a handful of boys it was essentially just friendship and I wasn't attracted to them, nor did one ever break my heart. Boys did aggressively pursue me sexually (even before puberty) and though I was curious enough at times to go along with it a little, I just wasn't interested for its own sake, but then so many girls lied about not being interested that I thought they were telling the truth and therefore that I was normal (though they dated A LOT more and a lot more seriously than I did). For what it's worth, I seem to be demisexual which may have contributed to my not automatically knowing.

I did have an off and on sexual relationship with my best friend though she was promiscuous with many guys (though in retrospect I wonder if her Christian upbringing made her unwilling to accept being gay as she never got that close to a guy, but she did me, and her promiscuity was her trying to become straight). She did turn on 2 girls for supposedly being lesbian which I knew was false, and it hurt my feelings that she thought there was something wrong with what we did in private, but when I mentioned it she got upset and insisted what we did was "just practice." She then ended up convincing me to try losing my virginity to a guy which was somewhat traumatic (though at least the guy was decent enough to stop when I told him to).

We both ran away from home and we were exposed to a lot of gays and lesbians. I felt completely comfortable around them and as far as I can tell she did, too (but then she was often high, unlike me--I did get high a little, but not like her, but then I didn't turn tricks as she did).

When I came back (my best friend didn't) some mean girls tried teasing me by saying I was a lesbian (they were the ones to turn the school against the other 2 girls that my best friend had joined in the tormenting of). I didn't care one way or another if I was. When they tried to alienate my friends (a doomed endeavor due to my being in a special class then rather than part of the school that they terrorized) one girl faked kiss me when they asked if we were girlfriends (I faked kiss back). I still didn't realize I was gay.

But despite epic efforts by the state of Texas to keep me (and all kids) ignorant of homosexuality (and even just sex in general, what little sex ed in school was mostly meant to terrify rather than educate, which would backfire as eventually kids stopped trusting them and ignored the actual dangers right along with the false ones) at least I knew what it was. I'm not even sure how I knew, but I recall seeing the subject brought up when I was like 10-12 on cartoons like the Simpsons and The Critic and I pretty much understood it. (I'm trying to recall when I first heard anyone use "gay" words as a slur and I'm not sure when that was. But I do recall that I accidentally got a boy in trouble when we were 9, IIRC, as I got him to play dress up with me and his parents freaked, so I hadn't picked up just how bad "femininity" which was confused with being gay was by then, and neither did he.)

Btw, I also spent time in a very small rural East Texas town where most of my family lived. About 20-30 kids in my grade sounds about right (the bus I sometimes used in that town took everyone from kindergarten to high school and there was still plenty of room on it, though many didn't take it as the town was that small).

My granny was also a "nature child" and hippie...she has both good and bad memories of the time and I've found her stories (I'm tempted to say saga) of her own coming of age (and leading up to my being born) endlessly fascinating.
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