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I'm out. Aren't

I'm out. Aren't


What does it mean to be out? It's one thing to be interviewed by the local and national press as a publicly gay person. It's quite another to be face-to-face with one near stranger who makes the wrong assumptions about your life.

Satre is a junior at Notre Dame Academy, a private Catholic high school in Middleburg, Va., and the founder of the Virginia LGBT activist group Equality Fauquier-Culpeper. He writes regular journal entries for The Advocate.

I'm sitting uncomfortably in the backseat of an old Honda on the New Jersey Turnpike nearing the middle of the night. My mom is sitting in the driver's seat, livid at the driving skills--or lack thereof--of the other drivers. My grandmother sits beside her, fidgeting with the radio and consistently complaining of the incessant thumping of the modern music: how absolutely classic (pun intended).

The decision is made, the music is settled, and three generations of traditional Irish Catholic family sit at peace after a trek from Virginia to New Jersey. The car ride is calm now; only random flashes of streetlights and headlights rift through the darkness of the two-ton weapon that makes us feel so secure.

I'm sitting here lost in the threads of light that pass by, glimpses of headlights, brake lights, and the shadows inside. Each shadow casts a different shade of gray and black--different shapes and sizes, and different shades of the same mixture. They are all silently sailing in a sea of steel, each with a life and story.

Last night my story was false. I was but a mere shadow in a sea of colors. People were going to and fro on a dreary rainy day in D.C. as I got off the Metro. Woods, one of the Metro workers, came up to me. He and I had met before. After helping me get a new "SmarTrip" card, Woods smiled. "Get a lot of them girls at school, d'ya?"

I froze. What should I say?

"Yes." I just wanted to be done with the conversation before I was wrapped in the very lies I had overcome since I was outed four years ago. But Woods continued in a conversation full of lies, deceit, and praise for my way with women in the world of everyday, average teenage boys in America.

After a year in a public position as a gay person, I stood silent to one man who simply classified me as every other American. I stood silent while Woods spoke of girls, dating, and sex--and I nodded, fake, almost as if I were back in the closet. I was a lie, a liar, a closeted fool whose courage died down in the middle of a sea of colors. In that single moment I was simply the shadow I used to be. I was untrue to myself as I once was.

That night I had been talking to a reporter in my hometown of Culpeper, Va., who put down his notebook and pen and assumed a serious tone. He wanted to know how my family had been affected, because within the past year the country has turned attentive to someone in their family: me.

Miles later on the New Jersey Turnpike, my grandmother and mother are jeering away at the diverse gossip of our comical relatives. Suddenly, the air goes silent: A ringing voice from the radio fills the claustrophobic atmosphere within this steel box.

Maybe the reporter meant to ask: How has it affected me?

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff & Wayne Brady

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