When you’re a lesbian you experience rejection from friends, family, and society. Once you find a group of people who are like you, it’s a good feeling. I remember the first time somebody came out to me. I was over at my friend Raymond’s house. His parents were out of town, and he usually hosted a week-long sleepover in their absence. My friends Raymond, Rob, and Michael came out to me in Raymond’s living room. I don’t know how I didn’t know they were gay, but I was unassuming back then. I knew Raymond from church, Rob from Ms. McBride’s speech class, and Michael from school and church. I had an instant peer group. The four of us along with a few other folks were a clique of inner city gay and lesbian youth.
We started attending IYG that same summer. I had just turned 16. I remember my very first IYG event. It was a Sunday Social hosted at the house of two lesbians who lived near Ellenberger Park. It was exhilariting and frightening at the same time. It was great to be around so many people like me, except I wasn’t really sure how much we had in common. After all, I wasn’t campy. I no longer cross-dressed. I didn’t sneak into bars, and I certainly didn’t talk about my sexual exploits in public.
I would go on to be involved in IYG for almost three years. I took on a leadership role in the organization and represented IYG regionally and nationally at conferences and on radio and television shows. I have some good memories. Good memories don’t haunt like the bad ones. I’m not going to go into the details now, but I will as time goes on. I will share with you the end of the story as it was written 14 years ago. I was rejected by IYG. I was told that I was too fucked up. I may have been fucked up, but I wasn’t the only one. And I hardly believe that the appropriate response by an organization that purports to support at-risk gay and lesbian youth is turn one onto the street because she’s “too angry”. I had good reasons to be angry then, as I do now. My experiences at IYG helped to fuel that anger. It also helped to alienate me from the gay and lesbian community. No more. I’m talking about what happened at IYG.