Mike Jones: How I experienced school as sga   


From: (Mike Jones) 
To: policy@Bridges-Across.Org 
Date: Wed, 28 Jan 1998 18:50:57 +0000 
Subject:  how I experienced school as same gender attracted

Mike Jones here: 

As I have thought about what I might say in regards to: 

>Ex-gays will describe how they experienced school as a same gender 
>attracted young person, and answer questions about school life, 

a couple themes continue to come to mind. 

Truthfully, I probably decided rather subconsciously early in life that I would protect myself by not drawing attention to myself in any way.  I would dress conservatively, I would get good but not the best grades, I would not be involved in contact sports, I would be polite and friendly to people in every clic and I would not discuss my questions about sexuality with others.  Basically I would make myself drift into the woodwork, not so far as to draw attention that I was being distant, but just enough that people would respectfully not ask any questions. 

Sadly it worked. 

Reflecting back on those years, I doubt that most of the friends that I did have would have treated me any different than my friends whom I did share with when I entered college.  While my college friends for the most part were not particularly helpful, they did not in any way try to hurt or belittle me. 

I think that I had enough latent radicalism in me during junior high and high school, that I could have put together quite a support group of friends who would have stood up for me and defended me and even protected me, from those who would want to put me down or bring actual physical harm to me. I found it rather lonely, however, not being able to discuss issues of life with my friends.  I was very careful not to bring up any subject that would lead to a discussion or questions about my own sexuality.  When we could go out on double dates and I would get teased for not making out with my date in the back seat, most people thought it was just because I was shy.  So my cover worked for the most part.  Yet, I don't recommend it.  It wasn't real. 

I carried inside of me competing qualities of being very timid and having surges of being a rebel.  I can remember being a rebel in areas where there was little chance that my own gender identity confusion would surface, but in most areas it was only my dream. 

I thus had more friends who were older than I was, compared to those who were my direct peers.  I could always just be the younger, less experienced person in those settings.  I can remember having a host of questions that I wished I could have asked, but never very close to actually bringing them up. 

So, in some ways, I compliment those individuals who were open about their own same gender sexual attractions when they were growing up. I had decided through my own personally bible study that I would only be sexually active within the context of marriage.  I had too many ever-straight friends who were sleeping around, to be any kind of role model for me, that sexual expression outside of marriage was appropriate. Thus I think I was just waiting to see when the 
Lord would want to do something about all these crazy feelings I had inside me.  As I look back on my life, I often wonder if I had had more guts, if I would have looked for a man whom I could have shared a lifetime commitment with.  There wasn't much pro-gay Christian material available.  Now that I have read all of that material, and have come to an exciting personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I am convinced that even if I would have given myself freedom to pursue a long term, loving, committed same gendered relationship, that doing so would not have answered the desires of my heart.  It might, however, have actually lead me sooner, to actually letting Jesus be Lord of my life in every area that I could turn over to Him.  I think I was just spinning my wheels for many years. 

For me personally, growing up, I think my own timidity was my worst enemy.  It kept me from having real friends, from taking real chances and from really growing.  The classroom was a very safe place for me, and so I excelled through most of my pre-college school years, not so much because I had better skills, but that others did not apply themselves as much.  After puberty, I do believe that my own gender confusion coupled itself with my well established sense of timidity, and significantly held me back in many areas of my life, in or out of the classroom. 

Thus, I am very sympathetic of anyone who is wondering about their own sexuality.  What I could have used most growing up, was just a few people that I could talk to honestly.  Who would do a lot of listening, and be honest, transparent and vulnerable with me about their own life and about their own sexuality. 

I have those people now in my life, and you wouldn't get me to trade them in on even the fastest car in town.  I still have some catching up to do, but I am well on the way.

Mike Jones 
email Mike

Tom Cole's report of the B-A workshop at the 1998 GLSEN Midwest Conference


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