"Look he hasn't bother you so why do you pick on him?"
"He's a fag"
"So that makes it ok, How would you feel if he picked on you because your Afro-American. You wouldn't like it and there is nothing you can do about it. You are what you are."
I sat at the lunch table listening to Gerome and Nick arguing. Nick had a point at least as far as Gerome was concerned. He was an Afro-American and there is no way he can change. I wonder how he would feel if someone picked on him because of that.
"What are you thinking Glenn?"
"I was listening to Gerome and Nick arguing. You know we are what we are, the way we were born. Jerome can't change who he is and neither can Scott. I don't think its fair to pick on him because he likes boys instead of girls. My dad says that is the way is wired."
"Well, your dad would say that he's an electrician."
"But it's true, look you have red hair, do you think you can change it?"
"Sure I can dye it."
'Yes, but it will always be red underneath. You have the gene for red hair."
"So you are hinting that there is a gay gene."
"Yea and know what else, there is a little of that in all of us."
"No Way! There's none in me?"
"When we take showers, tell me you don't check out the guys."
"Yea but that is for comparison."
"Oh come on what difference does it make if, you can't change you."
"Well, I'm not gay."
"I never said you were, my point is Scott can't help himself if he is attracted to boys. You have at least a curiosity and if you didn't have a little gay gene floating around inside you, you won't give a shit what other guys looked like."
"I'm not gay and my dad said it isn't natural." After saying that Glenn found himself alone at the table.
I walked to my last class and I saw Gerome talking to Scott. Scott had a smile on his face and shook hands with Gerome. Maybe Nick got through to him.
My last class was English which generally meant writing. I started my paper but didn't finish, I had one more day and I had writer's cramp. I wasn't sure how to finish off the story.
That night after supper, I tried to finish my English paper. "Dad, I'm having a problem writing my English paper. I'm stuck."
"Maybe you aren't comfortable with the subject matter, what are you writing about?"
"It's a fiction story, space exploration."
'Maybe that's the problem, you are basing to much of your story on a television series that isn't finish. If you wrote about something you really cared about it would be easier."
I didn't like the idea of starting over, but Dad was right. My other papers were based on my experiences around our neighborhood. This is really out in left field for me.
Sitting in front of my computer my mind drifted too my discussion about Scott. The more I thought about Scott, the more I became convinced that I was right. With that in mind, I did some research on the Net. I read some of the psychological reports and behavior reports. I also read reports on forced behavior and I was shocked to read about the methods used to convert gay kids to straight kids. I found several papers by scientific people reporting that this form of conversion doesn't work. I thought that would be like taking Gerome and giving him shock treatments to change his skin color.
Now I had enough information to write a paper strengthening my arguments in the cafeteria. I wrote for 2 1/2 hours, when I was done I did a spell check and then printed the paper. I knew who my greatest critic was, so I took the paper to dad. "I changed my topic. I would like for you to read this and give me your comments."
I watched Dad's expressions as he read the paper. "Where did you get all of this information?"
"I did a search on the internet. I listed the sources on the last page."
When dad was finished, "I'm not sure what your other paper was about but I would give you A on this paper. Is there someone in your class who is gay?"
"Yes, at least one I know about. He's a nice kid but everyone picks on him. I had an argument today about it not being a choice for him. But it's hard for people to realize that. I need to do something that'll make people realize that some people don't have a choice."
"I'm sure you will by English class tomorrow."
That night in bed, I thought about showing that some people can change some attributes but if there is something in your make-up that can't be changed, then it isn't your fault.
At breakfast, "Have you thought what you're going to do."
"Yes, I'll tell you when I get home."
My discussion about Scott continued through our lunch period. I needed to see Scott before English class. I caught him just as he was leaving the cafeteria. "Scott, I need to talk to you and ask you for some help. Can we talk in the boys room for a minute?"
He looked concerned and I wasn't sure he was going to run or not. "Alright"
Once we were in the boys room, "I been having a discussion with some of my friends concerning genetics. We are what we are because of our genetic makeup, color of our eyes and our hair for example. But also our sexuality is controlled by these genetic markers." I could see he was becoming nervous. "Gerome is Afro-American and he can't change his color because it is genetic. That is what my English paper is all about. Now this may be weird. I want you to paint my chest with rainbow colors. When I present my paper, I'm going to ask Gerome to stand with me and then I'm going to open my shirt. I'm going to try to wipe the color off Gerome and then I'm going to wipe the color off my chest. The point is, just as Gerome is a result of genetics so are gay people and you can't wash it off them."
I waited to see what would happen, I started to think he wasn't going to buy it, when a saw a small smile start at the corner of his mouth. "Ok, it may help to be accepted. It is a battle that I can't win alone. Thanks for trying to help."
The next five minutes I was being painted a rainbow. We fanned the paint dry, I put my shirt back on and headed for the English class. Just before entering I caught Gerome and ask he if would help me. Gerome and I have been friends for a long time, our fathers work together,
Our English teacher collected our papers and ask for volunteers to read their paper. I raised my hand, I think she didn't know what to do, nobody ever volunteered.
I started to read my paper and when I got to the point I was going to make, I asked Gerome to step up and help me. I stopped at the appropriate place in the paper, took out some clean wipes and wipe Gerome's arm. I explained Gerome is Afro-American because of his genetic makeup and there is no way to wipe off his color because it is decided not by external application iike lipstick but by genetics.
I read a little more about genetics, and then open my shirt. The kids eyes all most bugged out of their eyes, I took the wet wipe and began to remove the color stripes. This is not the result of genetics, but I know you thought I was going to say I was gay and this was the way I was going to tell everyone. If that is what you thought, they are wrong. Although genetic determines certain traits, eye color, hair color are visible and can't be changed but can be covered up and so can sexual preferences. Being gay is an internal genetic manifestation not an outward manifestation such as skin color. In fact I believe there is a gay gene in everyone and depending on its strength will determine how we act. Girls, show envy of other girls, that is a result of that gay gene, like I wish I had hair like that, but it's repressed in a way. I know for a fact boys who claim to be straight always check out other boys, to see how we measure up but sometimes there is a little envy. We can't change anything because it is what it is. A person who has a strong gay gene will prefer a partner of the same sex, and they can't change no matter what they do, Gerome can't change his color no matter what he does and a gay person can't change no matter what they do. Thanks.
This story is part of the 2016 story challenge "Inspired by a Picture: Rainbow Boy". The other stories may be found at the challenge home page. Please read them, too. The voting period of 14 August to 4 September 2016 is when the voting is open. This story may be rated, below, against a set of criteria, and may be rated against other stories on the competition home page.
The challenge was to write a story inspired by this picture:
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