In many many previous posts, I have covered multiples areas of the social background. This part focuses on the religious aspects of my experience. As said before, I actually came out in the 5th grade, when I first had met Jen (girl in white behind me at Hampton Beach), and we became friends. Glad I’m not friends with her anymore, because my life has made drastic improvements since then.
Given my last name was very different from everyone at school, most people in school from 3rd through 5th grade had asked where it was from. Everyone essentially knew that I was different. It wasn’t Irish, Italian, or Hispanic/Latino, which were all prominent cultures in Lawrence, historically, and currently (think Tripoli Bakery, The Claddagh Pub, Bali’s, Cafe Azteca, Mano’s Pizza, or Bada Bing Pizza Place). However, it wasn’t until I came out in 5th grade that I would be inundated with religion, specifically Christianity.
By my schoolmates, both Catholic and Christian together, I was regularly preached about procreation, God’s intent, and the perils of homosexuality. As if I wasn’t getting enough of that between family, I was also getting it in school as well.
Comparisons at home weren’t exactly favorable either, as my family had a habit of comparing me to a whore, and prostitute, due to my sexual orientation, since I was at least 15 years old. This was stated by them, including my younger brothers as a “joke” that I was taking too seriously. Because I would take these “jokes”..”too seriously,” this caused an awful lot of fights to occur. They insisted I was entirely responsible for them.
Notably, I was a virgin until I turned 18 years old, and have never been particularly sexually active in the past, or present. On multiple occasions, though, my father insisted that Sodom and Gomorrah was a historical event in the Bible, not a fable, which is why he could compare me to a prostitute, rapist, or even child molester, with no fear of repercussions. He insisted he could not be wrong for promoting the will of God, because that would be discrimination.
Because I had intentions on spending the rest of my life in Lawrence, I never really took guys I met in Lawrence that seriously. I frankly thought there was a whole world that I wanted to see, and keeping my vision only within the confines of Lawrence, as my family requested I do, was not what I had ever planned. Why should I remain in Lawrence with little prospects, when I can be bolder and make something of myself? So, I decided, the first opportunity I had to do such a thing, I would do just that – never looking back.
That’s where college came into things. My family has known for years how much I value education, which, like I said before was even prominent in our class motto:
“Education Opens the Door, Class of 2004.”
I knew I was ambitious, I wanted to do, to be involved with so much more, but also knew I would have to leave what I had the least investment in to accomplish such a goal. As my parents would express in private, I had to become the bad guy, worthy of punishment, and to be regarded as a seedy, rebellious child. How can that be accomplished? Well:
- Categorizing me as a poor decision-maker, even law breaker;
- Suggesting I had inclinations towards being a prostitute (if they told me to my face they were “just kidding,” but told others something else, it could work);
- Continuous insist I exhibit strange behavior, and align my interests to ghosts, UFOs, conspiracy theories, and other outrageous, ridiculous things;
- No matter what I do, insist that I don’t have even the slightest to desire to work; and,
- Suggest I have an obsession problem with television programs, even though all of my family has shown an interest in television programs.
Essentially, I’m aware they needed to stigmatize me as someone ridiculous, unintelligent, unethical, against abiding the law, annoying, and requiring large amounts of paternalism, which as my father would do (even though my family was the main actors in this element), blaming the government, and the Democrats.