Random Memories

Posted on September 18, 2012

8


1984. My father has just returned from a trip to the states. Among the many gifts he has brought back, he gives my brother, sister and I a stack of postcards, telling us that we should divide them up. One of them immediately grabs my attention. It is the close-up of a gorgeous face of a woman with a perfect smile, biting on a yellow rose. I grab it immediately, and for the next few days, I am in love with this postcard woman.

A few days later, I tell my brother that I think the woman in the picture is beautiful. To my confusion, he tells me I’m gay, and that it is actually a man in the picture. I take a closer look, and suddenly I realize that it is indeed a man.

***

1985. Martina Navratilova is on top of the world. The most famous tennis player to date, and a recurring topic of conversation between my friends and I. Every list of her achievements is followed with: “Yeah, but she’s gay.”

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1985. Class ski trip. At night, the boys get together and make fun of a single teacher. “He is not married because he is a faggot.”

***

1987. A few of my brother’s friends are sleeping over at our house, and it’s bath time. This is war time, so very little water. We have to shower in groups. I get paired up with M. I’m 8. He’s 10. In the shower, he tells me how girls love penises. He tells me I have to always wash my penis very well because if I didn’t, girls would never want to love me.

***

1988. My cousins and I discover Elton John. We’re in love with his songs, but everyone is scared to admit it. I defend him, saying he’s not gay. My cousin tells me that I should listen to the song Daniel. “It’s a love song to another guy.” We stop listening to Elton John for over a year.

***

1991. I meet K. My first real crush on a boy. I tell him I think he’s cute. He kicks me in the balls. We never talk again. (K is an out gay man today!)

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1993. Religion class. We’re talking about homosexuality. The teacher says: “I know being gay cannot be a choice. Who would choose to be hated?” This statement is strangely comforting for me.

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1995. I come out to my priest. He tells me that God loves me, as long as I never act upon my feelings towards men. I tell him I already have. He tells me I need to go to confession and never do it again. I leave the church.

***

1998. I let my brother borrow my car. It has a tiny rainbow ribbon on the car visor. When I get the car back, the ribbon is not there. I ask my brother about it. “Are you crazy? I don’t want anyone to think I’m a faggot.”

***

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