Thursday, April 28, 2011

F-a-g-g-o-t !

One evening last week when I left work around 10 pm, I stopped at the service station down the road from my store to get some gas before heading home. This service station is in the same strip as a huge Wal Mart and sits maybe 200 yards from the main road leading into the Wal Mart parking lot. The light had just turned red and there was a long stream of cars waiting to turn into Wally World.

I stood there in my own little world, lost in thought, tired and hurriedly fueling up my little Mazda. I finished and started screwing the gas cap back on when I heard someone shout in what they believed to be a faggy-sounding voice, “Hey-are you gay?”

I looked up at the stream of tricked-out lowrider trucks waiting to turn into Wal Mart for a moment and went back to digging through my wallet for my MasterCard. I didn't really pay it too much attention because that sort of thing hasn't happened to me since I was in high school.

Well… except for this one incidence in DC when this street person got mad at me because I wouldn’t give him a cigarette (I smoked at the time) and called me a stupid fag.

I started walking across the parking lot to head inside and pay when I heard a very loud, “F-a-g-g-o-t !” screamed and then a bunch of male laughter. Okay, now it hit me, those fuckers are hollering at me. 

I was the only one standing there besides an old lady in a beat-up van. I could have turned to the old lady and and said, "Ma'am, I think those guys just called you a lezbo," just to see how she'd react. Maybe she'd gasp and say, "Damn, I knew I shouldn't worn these god-damn Birkenstocks. They give me away every time !" 

So, how did these random hicks know I was gay? All I can assume is that I must have waited on them once at Barnes & Noble. About six months ago, someone had written, "Everybody that works here is gay!" on the bathroom wall at work. At the time, I'd assumed that one of our metrosexual-ish managers had pissed somebody off and they'd just needed to blow off some stream. 


Now I'm beginning to think they indeed meant me. Hmmmm.

I felt fear for an instance, not fear for my safety but fear that I’d been fooling myself all these years, thinking I was rather straight-acting and I that blended well. And let’s face it…deep down, it was a nagging fear that my awful teen-age years would return and I’d once more be vilified and tortured by stupid rednecks.I know, I know...I shouldn't care about how straight-acting I am or if I blend well into straight society but I have to live here and I don't really want to constantly be called-out as gay. I will gladly tell anyone that I'm gay in an instant if they ask me but I don't clobber people over the head with my "gayness".

I truly wish there had been all this concern about bullying when I was in high school. There were no anti-bullying P.S.A.'s (It Gets Better) or pop stars like Lady GaGa publicly standing up for young gay boys. Adults were definitely in the "boys-will-be-boys-let-them-work-out-their-own-problems" mindset back then and didn't want to get involved.

I’m going to tell you guys something that I never tell anyone. Things got so bad for me that I had to drop out of school in the 10th grade. I finished up high school at the local community college and after that received my (rather useless) degree in business administration from them as well. I won’t go on to laundry list all the indignities I suffered in high school but to say that I was hated in high school is a HUGE understatement. 

What got me was that I didn’t even know I was gay when I was in high school but everybody else just assumed I was gay. I actually had crushes on girls at that time. Even though it’s been many years, I can still see their faces screwed up in hate when they'd corner me after lunch and try to get me to throw the first punch so they could technically say I started it and beat the living shit out of me. I cursed like a drunken sailor back then, my other nickname besides “hey faggot” was “go-to-hell” because I constantly said it over and over to my torturers . I was a very angry teen.

Some of worse events:

*A guy spit in my face in front of everyone and told me how much he wanted me to get AIDS and die. That was worse than any beating I could ever have ever taken.

*I was knocked out cold one morning on the school bus from a senior sitting behind me. He thought it would be funny to take his algebra book and crack the school queer across the head. I didn't come to until the bus driver pulled up to the school 45 minutes later and noticed me laying in the aisle after everybody had got off and went inside.

*One time doing P.E. when we were standing in line, the wrestling jock standing behind me pulled his cock out and slide it into my hand and started hollering, “Oh my God, this gay dude just grabbed my dick! Look! Help ! He’s got my dick!” I jerked my hand away like I’d been burnt and went to the bathroom to wash my hands while everybody laughed, even the P.E. coach. I was called to the office that afternoon and expelled for two weeks for "sexually molesting" that guy. I could have fought it, but the thought of not being if school for two weeks thrilled me.

*My homeroom teacher and yearbook editor hated me and decided to get in on the action. When the yearbook came out that last year, my name had been changed from “Paul” (my middle name) to “Paula”.  I kid you not. One simply letter and Ohhhh God, what a difference it made.

Years later when I bumped into a girl from high school and she asked if I'd attend our upcoming high school reunion, I looked at her like she must have been stark-raving-mad. I wanted to scream, "Miss Thang, where have you been, f-u-c-k-i-n' Mars ? If you where me, would you want to see those people again ?"  But no, I was polite, I just said I had to work that day and let it drop.

I paid for my gas and then got back in my car. That line of traffic was gone, the boys had gone on their way in search of pussy, drugs or cheap beer. I’d been forgotten, for now.

It’s 2011, why is being gay still such a shocking thing? 

I was angry with myself for being afraid. In that moment, I clearly wanted to get on a bus and ride and ride and ride till western North Carolina was just a dim memory.


I can’t do that.

I’m here and I’m queer, ya redneck bitches !!! This sure as hell ain’t my first time at the rodeo, boys.

Ya'll be good and know that I luv ya. Get out of those leftover marshmallow Peeps! I see you.


SteveA said...

My heart goes out to you.....that must have been a complete nightmare....I guess there are terrorists at school! America needs to grow up!

Mimi said...

That's so sad. Grown men picking on someone because he is gay. What a bunch of losers.

Also sad is that there are still kids who are having a shitty time out there, you should contribute something to that its gets better campaign to show them. That is if you believe it.

The Nubian Ibex said...

I just feel like yes you could leave, but what about the other youngins experiencing what you did or may be in danger of it? You are whom you are whether you are in weestern carolina or here in the piedmont where I am. You have a RIGHT to live and you continue to do so. They are not god. They too can be brought down to size!

Addison said...

Maybe they made an assumption about the Mazda? Or maybe they just randomly yell at guys who are alone and then drive away. The B&N seems less likely to me because they don't sound like they'd hang out at a bookstore/media outlet.

Art said...

Sorry to hear that you still have had to deal with these issues, and the previous ones at high school. I thought I'd had it bad, having 'Fag' scratched into my locker, and guys following me home and taunting me with the words 'Faggot' so that I also left school a year early and went to college to avoid further hassles. You've had to endure a lot, but hope it has made you a better and stronger person, in the long run. I know those issues had affected my self-esteem, and probably I still feel those repercussions to this day.

Adventures In Gay Dating said...

Thanks for all the comments, guys. I don't know so much that my high school years made me "stronger" but I certainly do think they made me more empathetic to the problems that face gay teens today.

SuperchilledTrevor said...

Awesome writing, despite being quite disturbing.
It makes a lot of sense that people migrate away from such environments, which can be great for personal freedom and security, but also limiting for the neighbourhoods they leave. The more people who remain in their home towns and show the world that being gay is normal and that gay people are just as much a part of the community as anyone else, then people will change their opinions and behaviours. When people are working and interacting together the barriers dissolve, but it takes a lot more people to be out in their communities for that to truly make a difference.