Saturday, June 27, 2009

Self Hating Book Report

In my room at my parents' house I have boxes upon boxes of old homework assignments and notes from classes. I used to be a major packrat and never threw anything away, but now that I don't really give as much sentimental value to junk, I've been going through them and throwing stuff away that really has no use.

While going through some old papers from high school today I came across a book report I wrote in 11th grade. It was for a young adult novel called "The Misfits" by James Howe. I remember loving that book because one of the main characters was gay, and *spoiler alert!* in the end of the book he gets a boyfriend. I started reading the book report though, and was appalled at what I wrote. I can't believe I was so self hating and in denial.

In my summary of the book, I talk about Joe, the gay character, and describe him as follows: "Joe is in love with Colin, which is creepy, but if you don't think about it too much it doesn't bug you."

At the end of the report I wrote a few paragraphs entirely about Joe:
"Another reason this book is so good is because James Howe takes things that we're not used to, and maybe even object to, and makes us see a different point of view. The biggest example of this is, of course, Joe.
"I'm not trying to say that I agree with the point of view about gays in this book. I am still firm in the LDS beliefs about this topic. My main point is that James Howe did an excellent job confronting a controversial and touchy topic.
"As soon as Joe got the note telling him to go to the flagpole, I knew who the note was from. This is where James Howe's genius writing comes in. In my mind, the idea of Joe hooking up with Colin is disturbing and wrong. However, I couldn't help rooting for Joe. I couldn't wait to finish the book because (even though this is disgusting) I wanted to see Joe find out that Colin likes him. James Howe makes Joe so likable that we can't help but want him to be happy (whatever that might entail). I don't approve of Joe's behavior and find it thoroughly repugnant."

I find it incredibly interesting and saddening that I felt such a great need to say that homosexuality is "repugnant." In retrospect, I think I wasn't so much amazed with the writing of a crappy young adult author as I was amazed at reading the story of young gay kids falling in love. I probably felt like I had to distance myself from their homosexuality in the book report by saying it was disgusting, when really I was intrigued by it and longed for what Joe found in the book. This just goes to show you what growing up in the closet can do to you. Haha. I'm glad I eventually got over this mindset. I really am glad to be who I am. I really do like being gay, and if given the choice, I would not choose to be straight. That's all for today, I'll try to be a more regular blogger from now on (thanks for the reminder, Austin!).

3 comments:

Ezra said...

We've all been there...

It's good to have you back! Keep on bloggin'!

Alan said...

I think lots of us who grew up in the Church have our own versions of this story. And I agree with you, "I really do like being gay, and if given the choice, I would not choose to be straight." I tried it for years, God knows. Much, much happier now.

Over the Rainbow said...

You seemed to protest way too much in that book report! :P

I'm glad that you are doing so well and finally comfortable with and accepting of who are you :)