Gay Valley

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Dear Friend,

            I am writing this because there is a possibility that wherever & whenever you are, you might benefit from these words. I suppose that’s why anyone writes anything, but this is for you. I want to believe that there is some small chance that I might be able to lend a hand to a young person like yourself, who is in the best time ever in US history to be gay/lesbian/queer/trans/allied or otherwise different, and isn’t having the best time. That’s right you openlyclosetedmasculinebutchtopbottomversdaddytwinkbearfemcarpet- munchingdragqueenkingfaghagbeard, this is for you, because I love you & it is time for you to start to love yourself and your situation as much as the (seemingly) self-assured people around you. We as college students have enough to worry about without all these LGBT and allied issues on top of our all of our already heavy baggage that we carry. Let’s begin a journey on to something new.

We have only just become friends; so let me tell you about myself before I preach as a floating head. I officially joined our team openly last year after carrying my secret since the second grade, the day someone gave me a Leonardo DiCaprio Valentine’s Day card which I thought was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I first came out to my parents, then my best friends, and then (after some deep breaths, a couple beers, and a mirror derived pep-talk from my reflection) my five male roommates, all of which are guy’s guys and thoroughly heterosexual. I am blessed to say that everyone took the news amazingly well. That is except for the girls who had envisioned me as potential ‘boo’ material, whom I still remain great friends with. From there I decided that was it, whoever found out, found out. I wasn’t going to send a mass text, nor was I going to post a Facebook status that would have potentially been confused by a typical ‘breeder’ prank resulting from me leaving my Facebook open (Steve Boyle LOVES DICK LOL). That’s enough about me. This is, after all, all about you.

I am going to start with you, closet case. Yes, you there, who opened this article in private. You, who if you are anything like I was, will be promptly deleting this article along with the rest of your even more private homosexual browsing content. I love you, because I was you, and it’s your time now. I know you have a million excuses, be it your parents, friends, bad timing, or maybe you’re still giving the whole “it’s just a phase” thing a shot. My advice is this: It’s time. Watch the ‘it gets better’ videos. Talk to any out person and you get the same answer; the longer the wait the harder it gets, and the sooner you start, the sooner you can start really living your life fully. Also, the sooner you can do that thing you have always wanted to do (you know which one I’m talking about, you dirty boy/girl, you). Fact is, you are not alone, which means two things: 1) There is a huge support system of people like you, they want to hear your story, and you are holding out on some potentially amazing life long friends and 2) There is someone who needs to see your display of bravery. Be it a hometown kid, someone down the hall or your best friend, there is a scared, lonely person who will hear of your courage and it will give them hope. I’ve experienced it first hand both ways (if you giggled at that sentence, I am not even mad), and a little bit of hope goes a long way for someone in need. There is that whole Ghandi mentality of “being the change,” and in this particular form of butterfly effect you could honestly save someone’s life and the life you save may be your own. Be brave, my closet cases. Join us when you can. We can’t wait to meet you.

Now for you, my out-and-about friend. Yes, you, my wonderful (dare I say fabulous?) friend. I have a mission for the two of us. We have got to make this the best time to be gay at Penn State, ever. I think you and I are both fed up about hearing complains about the judgmental, thirsty, bitchy state of ‘the scene.’ I personally hate that sometimes the greatest sense of community I feel here is on something that rhymes with ‘Sherindr’ (shhh, there are breeders reading this). You and I have to make an effort to stop sizing up every guy and thinking we know them. If one more ‘masculine’ guy makes an attempt to relate to me by talking about how much he dislikes ‘femmes’ he is going to see my feminine side first-hand in the form of an open-palm slap upside their self-righteous head. The LGBT symbol is a Rainbow for Christ’s sake, we are amazing because we are all different, and some of those ‘femmes’ are some of the most fun, wonderful individuals to be around once people get over themselves and learn to love and not condemn.

Also, I want to see you make an effort to come out to these events at Penn State. I am talking LGBT community events, Rainbow Nights, maybe grab a beer at Chumley’s, and my personal favorite, the drag shows. Holy hell, get everyone to drag shows, even the breeders. They are so much fun, it’s unreal. You and I need to change our mindset and view these things as opportunities to be among like-minded individuals, free from judgment and that much more able to have a fun time. Remember, these people climbed a mountain a lot like yours and mine, and comparing notes only makes us better. “Raise your hand if you have ever felt personally victimized by someone in the LGBT community… Now open your eyes.” (Shameless Mean Girls reference, CHECK). You get my point, you’ve felt alienated, you have felt judged, you have felt different. It’s time to spare the people around us of that horrible dark place.

That goes for you too, straight friend, cut that ‘Fag’ and ‘that’s gay” shit out. This all being said, sometimes a relentlessly persistent flirt is best shut down quickly; just try to do it as respectfully as possible. They might be creeping you out, but they are still human. All in all, treat others the way you wish to be treated, the golden rule stands alongside you and I.

This is where I will end this particular article. I am overwhelmed that you have read this far, but then again, I picked you for a reason. I have hope for you, and for everyone that you will help in whatever way you do. I will be here, behind the keys and a screen, at the rallies, at these events, and of course at the drag shows (seriously, I want to see you there next time). I won’t be far from you because we are both a part of everyone around us, however the pieces you’ll find of you and I are just a tad more, well, fabulous. I need you to believe in yourself as much as I believe in you, because I love you. I can’t wait to see the person you will become here in the happiest, and therefore, the gayest of Valleys.

Love, Steve.

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