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View Diary: Romney doesn't remember, but 35 years later I still do (213 comments)

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  •  bear here - I remember when attacked for being gay (47+ / 0-)

    I didn't know then that I was. I think the attacks - which were persistant and lasted for months - put me into denial for at least 15 years.

    Here's what happened:
    A prominent photographer in town was a distant relative. He liked high school boys way too much. Back then either the cops didn't care, or he never physically abused them. His name was Ralph.

    The second-string varsity football team decided to call me - a lowly but very tall freshman - "Ralph" whenever I passed any of them in the hall. I never reacted. When I got home, I went to my room and cried in my pillow. So, a couple of them took it up a notch.

    They surrounded me in the halls yelling "Ralph", "Ralph", "Ralph", "Ralph". I went home crying, awaiting my parents - both of whom left work to confront me. I told them what was going on. My father decided that I needed to confront them and stare them down. Then my mother got on the phone. She called the parents of my friends and asked them to join me in the stare down. The next day it worked.

    I've never forgotten that, and neither have some of my tormenters. One called me "Ralph" at our 40th high school class reunion. I schooled him on my name, and let him know that he made me brave enough to enlist in the Army when he didn't, to fight in Viet Nam when he was at home, to accept the fact at the age of 30 I am gay, to go on and fight aids, fight homophobia, and fight child molesters including John Wayne Gacy.

    Bring those still in Afghanistan home NOW . . . It's long past time.

    by llbear on Fri May 11, 2012 at 06:55:10 PM PDT

    •  This is a rare brand of heroism.. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      terjeanderson, PinHole, llbear

      the refusal to yield to those who would render you less of a person. I doubt that I have that kind of courage, but the world is a better place for the fact that some do.

      Your black cards can make you money, so you hide them when you're able; in the land of milk and honey, you must put them on the table - Steely Dan

      by OrdinaryIowan on Sat May 12, 2012 at 10:52:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wasn't a hero. The most important element (0+ / 0-)

        of the stare down - during which not one word was said - were my friends who gathered around and joined me. We did that 1-on-1: Everyone picked out one person and fixed their gaze on that guy. By the way - my friends were both male and female and included two members of the first-string Varsity football team.

        One of the first string Varsity married a member of my class so he was there. He became one of the top highway engineers for the state of California. Tom thanked me for "taking care of business" way back then. His wife told me that their 5 kids dreaded their father's "stare from hell" whenever they really screwed up. I'll tell you, my mom and dad knew exactly what they were doing.

        Bring those still in Afghanistan home NOW . . . It's long past time.

        by llbear on Sun May 13, 2012 at 11:17:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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