The fear of being different

When I was a teenager, I was scared of my orientation.

Why?

Because, in the 1960s, in England, it was illegal to be homosexual. No, that isn't true. It was illegal to have sex with another male person, of any age. It was only made legal between consenting adults, in private, in 1967. And I was born in 1952. And I was in love with John in 1965.

So I was scared. Of several things.

The easy things were of being found out and ridiculed at school by my peers. Oddly this was an irrational fear. On kid was openly homo. I won't say "gay", the word hadn't really been invented. He was accepted as "Oh, he's queer". And no-one cared. But I cared about me. I couldn't "afford" that reputation. I was insecure enough by just loving John.

Stupid as it may seem today, I was scared of John finding out. But I tried really hard to help him to get the hint.

I was scared of being expelled in disgrace. The school tolerated the "queer kid" because he didn't proposition other kids. Well, if he did, they were willing and available! But there was this one guy who was expelled in disgrace and silence. I couldn't afford that.

And that leads to my real fear. I was terrified of my parents.

In those days experimental psychiatry was in vogue. The "It's for your own good" school of psychiatry. I have an aunt who was subjected to ECT. For a "nervous breakdown". I knew about ECT. I knew about aversion therapy. And my parents were the good, kind, sweet people who may well have sent me to be "cured".

I was just a normal kid, who loved another normal kid. And I was scared I would be sent away. It was "normal". Our town was chock full of prison style Victorian mental institutions. The nutter capital of Europe! Even the domestics in the school came from the loony bins.

I had a picture in my head that I would be strapped to a chair, and shown a picture of John while being given electric shocks.

To be made to hate him. To be made to be sick and in pain when I saw him. To be tortured because I was a fucking queer.

Even today just the thought of that makes my blood run cold. And it never happened to me.

Very recently I spoke of this to a friend.

"I've been though it," he said. And he cried. I could hear his tears even through AOL Instant Messenger. "It was real," he said. He was sick. He said so.

That led me to write this page. Mine was just terror. His was real.

But this page is to capture from those of you who have HAD similar experiences the truth of them. Not to expose the guilty. Not to sue, but to do two things:

To clear the air.

To prevent this, as far as we can, from happening to another kid ever again.

Email me, and I'll post your story. Or enter it into the special guestbook here.

Other People's Accounts

Please remember when reading the accounts: These are from the heart. From life. And knowing institutions and the people who work in them to be "special", remember that at least some of the staff will have sexually abused the kids in their care. Why? Because they could!