In the last week, every single day for the last several days, there has been a web search that says something like, “why do they call me gay” and “why do they tell me I’m gay” and “why do they tease me [that] I’m gay” that has led to my blog somehow. It’s very likely that it was several different folks and several different searches, but my gut, for whatever reason, doesn’t think so. And I’m not sure how or why you clicked on my blog each time, but you’ve been here day after day this week, so, I’m writing this post to you, on the off chance that you’ll stop by at least once more.

To my ‘why do they call me gay’ googler,

I’ve been thinking about you a lot and wondering what your story is. I’ve made up in my head that you are a 9 or 11 or 13 or 15 year old kid in some small town who is waking up each morning dreading having to go to school a little bit more than the day before. My guess is that you are a really smart kid, but it’s getting harder and harder to focus on schoolwork with the name calling. Instead you are online asking google why the world is being so mean to you right now. You are probably confused about a lot of things and you are online trying to figure out what you are doing wrong.

This may be your story, or close, or I may be way off, but this is a lot of people’s story and that sucks. It’s my story (minus the invention of google – I use to take the bus three towns away and look for books about it in a library where I prayed no one would know me. And I’m not even old, so get over that idea!)

I grew up in a small town and started having a really hard time in high school once folks began accusing me of being gay. This teasing didn’t bug me or bother me; it terrified me and made my already totally confusing life way more confusing. I wasn’t sure if I was gay or not but when I started getting called ‘gay’, and folks were talking about me behind my back, teasing me, friends started acting weird or stopped talking to me, I became way more worried about being accused of being gay than if I thought I was or not. So, I started spending as little time in school as I could get away with. I was good at most sports and stopped playing all of them. I was first chair trumpet (that means I was top dog player, yo) and stopped playing all together. I got rockin’ SAT scores but barely graduated high school and didn’t even apply for college. I waited to turn 18 and got the hell out of my town.

***DO NOT DO THIS!***

A lot of people have this story, or something close to it. And that sucks. So I see your searches that has somehow brought you to this blog all week and my stomach sinks.

Clearly this is bugging you or confusing you and I really want to reach out to you somehow but I’m not sure how to. I don’t actually know your story. (For all I know you are a 60 year old trucker lady from Minnesota.) But if you are in school and you are getting teased I want something to happen or change for you and I bet you do too. And it can, it’s just a matter of figuring out what to do… but you probably already know that.

And if you are gay or you aren’t gay or you don’t know if you are or if you don’t even care about that stuff anyway, and people are giving you a hard time and calling you names, any names, just so you know: You aren’t doing anything wrong and you don’t deserve to be teased or bullied or called names  that make you feel bad or uncomfortable! Ever, ever, ever, in your whole life you never ever need to put up with that!!!

(A really important side note to all of this would be, of course, that being gay isn’t a bad thing. I am totally gay and totally fabulous and I know a TON of gay and fabulous people, but I don’t think that is the main point in this case.)

What I wanted in high school was for someone to help me somehow. I wanted to talk to someone about things but I was way too scared and didn’t know who I could trust. Even though the teasing and the rumors about me were really hurting me I felt like I needed to keep my feelings a secret for some reason. I thought that if I told someone about it things might get worse somehow. And there wasn’t anyone I really trusted at my school to talk to.

And maybe you don’t feel like there is anyone you can talk to at school, or maybe you want to talk to someone who doesn’t know who you are? Well well well! I just found the coolest place for you to call!!! … or, get ready for this!!!… You don’t even have to call, you can just go on their website and chat with someone online!!!

Here’s the info:

Youth Talkline (for ages 25 and under but they will totally talk to you if you are older)

Phone: 1-800-96YOUTH  (1-800-969-6884)

Website: youthtalkline.org and click on “online peer support chat”

Hours: Monday-Saturday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (west coast time) (that’s 8p.m. to midnight on the east coast) and sometimes they answer a bit earlier than that.

Or, if you are over 25 and want to talk to the same awesome organization call this number instead: 1-888-843-4564

 

I just talked to a guy at the Youth Talkline, youthtalkline.org, who was super nice and he said that even though the name of the place on the website is GLBT (which stands for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered) no one that works there cares if you are any of those things or totally straight or you don’t know what you are or you are blue or purple or tall or fat or blond or whatever.

And they will talk or chat with you about whatever you want to in total privacy. He also said they have over 15,000 different resources of different people and places all over the country that might be able to help you out regarding all sorts of stuff. These people will just talk to you about whatever is on your mind, and you don’t even need to tell them your name if you don’t want to. They sound like they know a lot and probably have some good ideas on how to help you out.

And whatever, whoever, however, wherever you are if you want to talk or ask me questions just email me, jessejamesblog@gmail.com, and we can get in touch. I would love it. (I’m the only one who reads my email!) And if I’m not who you need/want to talk to and those numbers above aren’t the right fit, maybe I can help you find a better fit.

Also, just so you know, I’m really sorry that whoever is calling you gay is making you feel confused about why they are saying that. And if they are hurting your feelings I’m really sorry you are getting your feelings hurt.

And even though we don’t know each other, do me a favor, go to a mirror, point your finger at yourself and say this as loud as you want to (it’s long, you might want to write it down first):

NONE OF THIS NAME CALLING CRAP IS MY FAULT AND I AM NOT DOING ANYTHING WRONG! I AM AWESOME AND FABULOUS. I DO NOT DESERVE TO BE CALLED NAMES OR TEASED OR BULLIED OR MADE TO FEEL BAD OR SCARED OR UNCOMFORTABLE BY ANYONE AT ANY TIME EVER, EVER, EVER IN MY WHOLE LIFE… EVER!!! I DESERVE LOVE AND KINDNESS AND RESPECT AND NOTHING LESS!!! AND IF THEY DON’T KNOCK IT OFF JESSE JAMES WILL KICK THEIR BUTTS!!!

OK, that last sentence isn’t true and is actually a really, really bad idea!!! We’re working towards peace here… no butt kicking necessary.

Get in touch with that youth talk line (youthtalkline.org) and see how it goes, you have nothing to lose – or get in touch with me, but get in touch with someone, ok?! A lot of folks care about you and really don’t want you to be having a hard time. I don’t even know who you are and I’ve been thinking about you all week. I care about you.

So, that’s all I got for now, which isn’t a lot for this much writing.

Take good care of yourself, buddy. I’ll be thinking about you.

jesse james

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