I spent the next 3 years trying to get dates and the normal stuff that a “normal” boy would do but, there was something that told me that I wasn’t completely “normal”. By the way NORMAL is just a subjective word.
I went to high school in a small town. This town is so small that one of the high schools in the area just had a graduation and only 75 people are in the senior class. So, that should say how small the town really is.
I have visited many places over the years that were so small that the sign coming into the town said “WELCOME AND COME BACK SOON” on the same sign.
But once again I digress. My years in high school weren’t full of activities as I had few friends and I was aware that I was different than other boys my age. They were constantly talking about who they went out with and how far they got and the poor girl’s reputation would get shot all to hell because of something that probably never happened to begin with.
As I started to realize that my attraction wasn’t toward girls but boys I had decided this is definitely not a good thing for anyone to find out about. So I stayed in hiding. I did have a few friends by the time I graduated; Most of my friends were girls. Most of my time I spent with my girl friends, I guess they realized that I was different than other guys as I had respect for them where the other guys just used them for what they could get or couldn’t get depending on the girl. But the girls seemed to be the same as the boys in a way, they told their stories of their dates and whet they did and all I could think about was how lucky the girl was.
“What was wrong with me?” was all I could ever think of.
Being gay in 1978 wasn’t something that anyone really wants to know about especially when you live on the buckle of the Bible belt. But I started doing research at the local library and reading anything I could find that would help me find myself.
”Who am I?” was all I could ever thing about. I wanted to know everything I could learn about the male body and why I felt the way I felt. There was never any logical reason in my mind for why I liked boys instead of girls.
It was a constant battle in high school for the guys to pick on me especially in gym class because I wouldn’t participate in a lot of activities because I wasn’t any good at them or because I didn’t like the project of the day. I just hated sports, all of them except for 1. I really loved swimming, everything about it. I wanted to be a great swimmer. I watched the Olympics when they came on but I only wanted to watch the swimming events in the summer and the winter events I just love because I love snow.
I was sitting at home one evening when a particular swimmer/diver was competing in a diving competition. I wasn’t much of a diver but by watching him I thought I could get better. He hit his head on the platform and cut his head open. People started screaming and crying that he was going to die and all this kind of crap. But I was like “it’s just a little cut people, get a grip”. Later I was to learn that that swimmer’s name was GL (full name left out intentionally) Well it was revealed that G had Aids. I started thinking what the heck is AIDS? I didn’t cuss back then. I would have gotten in so much trouble for cussing, which was worse than shoving my sister down the hall and knocking her front teeth out. (But that’s another story)
So I started doing more research on AIDS. I had only heard the word in passing. But wanted to see what the big deal was. My favorite swimmer has aids and he’s totally awesome and down right gorgeous, I just had to know.
Well my research lead me to see that the acronym A.I.D.S. stood for Acquired Immunity Deficiency Syndrome. Caused by a virus that was spread by one of 3 different ways which we all now was by blood transfusion, drug use, and immoral sexual activity. In my mind it made since the way of transmission except for the part about immoral sexual activity. I wanted to know what they meant by that. The further I read the more I understood. The further time has gone on the more I understand as well. Then they find a virus that causes AIDS called HIV the Human immune virus, which makes the immune system weak and eventually causes AIDS and death. I started thinking to my self. “OK if I need blood for some reason I can die from AIDS, if I use drugs, I can die From AIDS, if I have sex I can die from AIDS. This just doesn’t make any since.” From that point on Every time I saw something on AIDS or HIV I was curious of what the big deal was. It’s just a virus right? NOT!!
During the Olympics that year G was criticized for having AIDS and the way he got it and all of this other stuff. I was still confused. My parents as I told you before weren’t much help with my understanding sex of any type much less what was going on with G. Who I found out later was gay. Well there is another term I wanted more information on. I always thought being gay meant that you were happy. (Told you I was really out of the loop!) So Once again to the library I went, looking thru books and magazines until I just gave up at this library. I guess what ever it was the library had decided not to carry information on the subject. All I knew was that there was concern that AIDS in the Olympic pool and that was not a good thing. But with me being a love of swimming I had learned that pools at that time were all kept clean with chlorine, which as you all know is a bleach product. Hell bleach kills everything. Why don’t they test the water in the pool to make sure it was safe to use. Which eventually they did, had the water analyzed and stuff and it was safe.
Finally there was an interview with G on TV and I was more that anxious to see this interview, my parents were both at work so I didn’t have to be disturbed with the comments they would make. G had came out and told people that he was living a Homosexual lifestyle, and that his lover had been an intravenous drug user in the past and that is probably how he had acquired the disease.
Things were finally starting to make since, I looked at myself in the mirror and said “Wayne you’re gay”, wow what a concept. I went again to the library this time to the college library and told the guy behind the desk that I was looking for any information they had on, G, homosexuality, AIDS, HIV, gay lifestyle, and anything related to the subject. He took me by the hand and lead me to the section I wanted and there it was liFE as I knew it was about to change. Information, was about to be put into my head at last. As he left me he turned and said, “If you need more information than what you find here I will gladly show you more than what is in the books”. I was a bit confused by that remark but soon the confusion would be over.
I read and read and read till I couldn’t ready anymore. My biggest thought was “WOW all these things are possible to do with 2 guys” I was Thrilled to no end and the bulge in my pants told that story itself. As I was leaving the library, force ably I might add; I was again approached by the same guy that showed me all the information and he place a piece of paper in my hand and told me that if I truly wanted to learn more to give him a call. The paper obviously was his phone number. I was tempted many times to call him, and damn he was hot looking. But, decided against it.
By this time I was graduating high school and I knew what it meant to be gay, I knew what HIV was and I knew what AIDS was because gay people all over the country were dieing from the disease. Actually they were dieing from other things as simple as the common cold because the immune system didn’t have the strength to stand up to it. So instead of dieing of aids people were dieing because of other things. It appeared that AIDS would attack the weakest part of your body. Where your immune system was at it’s weakest, and it was getting worse and spreading. It was spreading into newborn children from their mothers. Other small children were getting the disease. Gay and straight alike were getting AIDS. “What’s the deal” I thought.
Then came the bi-sexual thing and I completely understood how all these people were getting AIDS and dieing.
So in the 3 years since I started high school I learned about sex, I never had sex, but I learned. I learned that I am gay, I learned about AIDS, and I learned about HIV though there wasn’t much on HIV yet. But in the years to come things would take a drastic change.
I know there was no sex or really anything relating to sex in this chapter but the good stuff is on the way so be patient.
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