I've been so busy lately that I've completely compartmentalized all of the gay teen suicides (we've had a couple in Wisconsin lately), violence, and don't-ask-don't tell first nonsense then victory.
Until the other day when I suddenly remembered my first girlfriend.
A few of my readers are high-school friends who also knew Janet.
We were each other's first kiss in the summer (was it before?) of our sophomore year. I have no idea if she would have, ultimately, lived as a lesbian.*
Sophomore year was a hard one for us (isn't it for everyone?). Kids suspected, teased, wrote graffiti on our lockers. I suppose we'd call that bullying now, but we didn't think much of it then. Not enough to really even go to an authority about it.
We had falling outs.
We competed for the same slot in the winning 3200 meter relay.
She committed suicide.
If we had had statistics back then, I'm sure she would never have even been counted as a gay-teen suicide.
Again, I'm not even sure she was, really, gay.
I wish I could talk to her now and show her that, one way or another, it gets better.
*According to the Williams Institute, something like 9 percent of adults either identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, or report having had same-sex sexual experiences.