I read a coming out story today, written by writer and teacher Brad Gooch, in the book Boys Like Us: Gay Writers Tell Their Coming Out Stories. And no where in the five or six pages I read did Gooch write he'd been teased about being gay when he was younger and in grade school. Being teased was so much a part of my experience that it never occurred to me other young boys wouldn't be teased in the same way I was. Maybe it was the difference between me and them: I was effeminate, girlish, particular, and my peers took that to mean I was gay (when, truthfully, I didn't know what I was myself), while they were masculine in the ways that boys are masculine, playing sports, roughhousing, doing boy things, and no one ever knew they were interested in boys and not girls.
Imagine being turned on by some of the boys you went to school with, lusting after them, even sexually experimenting with some of them, innocently enough, of course, behind the bleachers, or in the playing field, or at the park, and getting all the way through junior and senior high without being teased, because no one suspected your interest or knew what was going on. In fact, I can't imagine that. It's so counter to my experience that it seems impossible. This would be the equivalent of adult men who are gay but who don't look or act it, so no one knows they have sex with men rather than women. I can't fathom that either. Again, it's not a part of my experience. But I can dream about what that might have been like, can't I? About how different my life would have been back then, how different I'd feel about myself today, had that been the case for me too?