Happy Prom Season

From Frank Maiva, a graduating high school senior, who explains that "gay is the new cousin" when it comes to finding a last-minute and/or non-threatening prom date.

My prom season was far more memorable and a bit less pleasant, as some of you may know. It makes a great story, but it's better in person after a pint.

One brief word of warning/wisdom from an older brother, though. Frank writes,

"Perhaps this is why certain girls and certain gay guys become such good friends in high school. They're waiting for an environment that isn't based on popularity or games, an atmosphere where they can thrive. While I've had an excellent time in high school these past four years, I have to believe there is something better out there for me in years to come. I know many of my friends feel the same way."
Well, I wish that I could tell Frank that finding that place will get easier soon, and it will, but it will never be "easy". Particularly as a gay man. (For Frank, particularly as a gay man heading to New York.) Finding one's friends and possibly more significant others doesn't, it seems, get tons easier post-high school.

I hate to be all down on my people, but one of the wisest things I was once told upon coming out was that just because someone is gay, it doesn't mean he's a good person. Or a bad person, either, but I remember heading off to college expecting to find an exciting, welcoming and, dare I say, virtuous community of brothers who had learned from their experiences of marginalization and prejudice to begin creating a different sort of community. I have found that, but in part by helping to create it. I've also found a lot of the opposite. (Caveat: this isn't a "perfect me vs. the rest" argument; as a relatively self-aware Christian, I've had plenty to time to be imperfect and flawed in my continued attempt to flourish the way God wants me to.) Studies have suggested that because gay men, at least those not as self-aware and mature as our young author here, tend to delay adolescence, in part because they never have the chance to learn how to socialize with the objects of their affection and attraction the same way that our straight friends do. Those apparently silly "dates" to the mall with twenty other pre-teens do a lot more for teaching us how to treat each other than we realize sometimes, and a community of guys who often didn't have that chance is just as prone to popularity contests, gameplaying, etc., as the jocks referred to in the article.

So...the fact that Frank and his generation are beginning to have that chance in high school, however limited it might be, gives me a great deal of hope. But the lesson of learning to appreciate people who are authentic, or trying their best to be authentic, that Frank's learned in hanging out with his promdates, might, IMHO, be more important than learning how to pin on a corsage correctly.

P.S. If you're a younger person who's stumbled on here and is looking for support, check out your local area's resources or see if there's a GSA (a Gay-Straight Alliance) in your school or area. On the web, a random google search picks up YouthResource and QueerAttitude.

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