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Visit Gay Houston

Volume 16/Issue 15

by China Doll
Houston, Texas

I have selected this issue's topic because it has touched my heart dearly for the past 5 years. I have lost friends through this issue, and I hope, after reading this, I can help others to turn their lives around. Growing up these days is very difficult for all of us. Looking back to the late 80's and early 90's, we've changed tremendously, but not enough to save our families or loved ones in time. Peers bullying you or calling you "fag" or "sissy" is very hard to take for some people. When I was growing up, living with over 700 hundred people was a challenge. Trying to keep my private life and trying to help others was very hard to do at times. I dreaded going to school or being in church then facing my peers, because I was very ashamed of my homosexuality. I didn't have anyone to talk to or to tell how I was feeling inside. Nurses and counselors did not seem to understand what I was going through. I was hiding my sexuality even from myself. I began to go to a group, HATCH (Houston Area Teenage Coalition of Homosexuals). It was actually a very nice support group for me. I made several friends in HATCH. It helped me to deal with my homosexuality, but that was it. When I got home and went back into the community, there was no support.

One day, I met a friend who was my age. At that time I was 17. He had some family problems, but he seemed not to express himself. I always had a feeling that he was Gay and he knew I was completely Gay, but we seemed to keep that very low key. I went to a night club with another friend of mine one night and discovered my troubled friend was in that club dancing as a stripper, and for the first time I met his lover. They were a young couple living together in a small apartment. They were both runaways. (In Texas you can emanicipate at the age of 17 in the court of law.) They were both from a very wealthy family. I learned a lot from them both.

After graduating from high school and going to college for 2 years, I began to fall back into the club scene and began to discover myself again. I went back to the club to look for my two lost friends who I dearly loved. It took me awhile. When I found one of them on a corner, he told me that his lover had committed suicide, due to the fact that his parents had found out that he was Gay. I was very upset that a young man like him with a high education would end his life in tragedy. I stayed in contact with his lover for awhile to find out more about his death and decided to go out into the community and be a public speaker.

It was at Lamar High School summer camp where I had my first public appearance. I stood in front of over 200 seniors, trying to explain how hard it was for me to handle the death of a friend and a close one too. I resolved from that day on to live for myself and to become a better person. I also learned to support my own friend in his needs.

Peer pressure seems to be a part of the issue in most young Gay mens' suicides. I think being supported by friends and family through this time is very important too. In this day and age parents seem to be more open. That has helped many to know that there is someone there to give them a hand if they do fall down.

A random survey of 750 men between 18 and 27, conducted in Calgary between 1991-92, found Gay and Bisexual males are 13.9 times more at risk of making a serious suicide attempt. My only suggestion to prevent this is to make it known to your community, by having as many support groups as you can and trying to be very supportive of your teenagers. Make sure in your schools, churches or support groups to mention whatever prevention, intervention and postvention possible. In the meantime, please support one another and be careful.

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