How to Survive Being Gay in a Small Town

I go to school in a town that has no stop lights. Everything is centered around farming and camo and all the shit that goes along with living in the country. Everyone here hates gays. I’m so ready to come out, but I’m also terrified. I just feel stuck in a room with no doors. Like I’m going to be stuck here forever and have to live the life of a guy that I’m really not. I’m tired of acting like the straight guy who is “just focusing on life and school, and doesn’t want to be in a relationship”. That’s not me, I really do want to be in a relationship. I want to find someone to kiss and cuddle and do everything else with. – Hunter, 16

I have you beat by one stop light, Hunter. Actually, I take that back – it’s not even a stop light…just a flashing yellow light the mayor covers in tacky garland every year for Christmas.

My graduating class was 30 kids. I come from the meth capital of the world (seriously). And when a Dollar General came to town, there was a collective crapping of pants.

Growing up in a small town is tough when you’re gay…or if you have any ambition whatsoever. There’s a reason small towns have so many drug users and alcoholics – there’s nothing to do, plain and simple.

That’s why small-town folk get so excited about hating queers. It’s like giving a kid some menial task so they’ll feel important. If anything, they should be thankful homosexuality exists since it evokes such passion in their otherwise passionless lives.

I’ve learned to not hold a grudge against them. Most homophobes hate themselves more than we could ever hate them.

But I guess that’s easy for me to say since I got the hell out of Farmville and found love in the big city. When you’re in the midst of all the camo and corn crops, it feels like a prison.

Here are some important things to remember until you get out of that hell-hole you’re in right now:

  • Stay goal-oriented. I know you said you want a relationship, but you’re only 16. Focusing on “life and school” as you put it, is the best possible thing you can do. If you’re always thinking about what you don’t have, you’ll never have anything. Know what I mean? Stay busy with yourself; find ways to learn and improve. When you’re happy with yourself, you’ll be surprised at how things start working in your favor.
  • Stop fighting depression. Fighting depression only causes more depression because it’s a constant internal struggle. How can you ever win a battle with yourself? The best thing you can do is acknowledge your feelings and pinpoint who/what makes you sad and what makes you happy. There is happiness outside your bubble, I promise.
  • Hate is not exclusive. People who hate gay people don’t just hate gay people. They hate anyone who has found happiness. You are in control of your destiny; nobody can hold you back unless you let them.

Hunter, I know you want to come out to your parents, but I’m afraid doing so right now would do more harm than good. I’m basing my advice off this part of your email:

My family is really religious and my mom is super super religious. She thinks that people who are gay, choose to be gay and she also thinks that you can change and not be gay.

Chances are she would force you into counseling or reparative therapy, and you’re too vulnerable to put up with that right now. Just be with yourself for the time being and know that you can always count on me or my subscribers to listen. It’s never “stupid and pointless to email someone from YouTube” when something is bothering you.

You’ll break free from those small-town shackles soon enough, and when you do, you’re going to find people out there waiting with open hearts and minds.

 

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