White DE version 2

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

bash

**Now with 25% more pararagraphs**

I have learned to live my life surrounded by people that accept me for who I am in a world that does not. It's the times when I am pushed outside that circle that I again realize that 'I' am the outsider. I have been through a lot of hardship in my life. I survived an abusive father who I no longer know. My mother died when I was 18 and just beginning to realize that you need a mom sometimes. And all the while I knew I was gay. While I realized I couldn't change that, I knew it was not preferable. When I began college I sought out people that were like me, in many ways. I made many GLBT friends and I made more straight friends that accepted me. I joined groups and clubs that interested me and were pushing the same policies I believed in and we accomplished a lot.

It was in October of my sophomore year that I was first pushed outside that circle. My fraternity (progressive) was hosting a Halloween dance. I was the social chair, so I had a large part in planning it. My friends Mark, Mike, Jake, and I decided we were going as the Golden Girls. (I would be Dorothy...I had the height and could never look like a woman if I tried, so I was perfect) After the dance I went to a party, still dressed, and found no one that I knew. An acquaintance offered me a ride back to campus that I accepted. He dropped me off at Mark's apartment and drove away. Well, wouldn't you know it...Mark was passed out and not answering his door. This is a big problem because I am in 'Dorothy' clothes and all of my 'Matt' clothes (along with my cell phone) are in his apartment. I started walking toward the Union knowing that the hotel would be open and I could at least call a cab and get home. As I was walking past one of the libraries a guy rounded the corner and gave the usual campus greeting. (hey, how's it going?) As he approached, though, he yelled FAGGOT and threw me to the ground. In my slightly inebriated state I was less than prepared for this and I laid there while he kicked me in the side and then knelt to punch me.

In that moment I thought of Matthew Shepard (who had died 1 year earlier) and was amazed that this happened in my world. I thought of all of my friends that this could be happening to, I thought of all the people I don't know that this could be happening to...and I thought of all the work I had done with organizations to make sure this didn't happen. It was funny in sort of a macabre way...and it pushed me outside my circle, back into the real world where I was the outsider. Thinking all this as he is kneeling and as his fist connected with the left side of my head, I mustered all the strength I had and punched him right in the nose. There was an oddly satisfying sound and he fell to the ground. I gathered my skirt and ran like the little faggot he had accused me of being. I ran to a friend's apartment in tears, with blood on my hand and head, and he took me in for the night.

I never did press charges about it, mostly because I wouldn't have been able to identify the man if presented with the task. I did, however, work at the Student Health Center and checked with the Urgent Care desk the next day. A 21 year old male had come in with a broken nose about 30 minutes after the incident...so I took this as his punishment and my reward. He wouldn't tell the doctor what happened...just that he had been in a fight on campus. Over the next few days, I thought about retreating...giving up some of my groups and volunteering...was I making myself a target by being so out? Was being vocal making me too visible? I decided against it...in fact I redoubled my efforts and actually brought Judy Shepard to Purdue University to speak about her son and the effects she has seen from it. After she spoke she pulled me aside and we talked for about 30 minutes. She reminded me so much of my mother and she said she could see Matthew in me, and that I should never give up or hide who I was. Since then, I never have. I have been called names, yelled at, ridiculed, and worse...but never hid who I am.

I don't volunteer much anymore, but wish I had the time to. It has been 6 1/2 years since Matthew Shepard was murdered...what has changed?


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Don't forget...And don't hide.

3 Comments:

Blogger Anthony said...

Can we get a few hard returns every once in a while, please? Pretty please? ;) (Paragraphs are easier to read.)

As for the subject, I've never been in that kind of situation, but I agree with your choice to not let the incident change you. (And to fight back.)

4:14 PM  
Blogger Extra Ordinary Boy said...

I tried, but was more worried about getting it all written down than format. Being a few hours removed I can edit now.

4:37 PM  
Blogger PETROLandKLORINE said...

You're right. You should never hide who you are. You are truly beautiful just the way God made you. Never be afraid of your truth.

12:10 AM  

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