Abstinence-Only, "No Promo Homo" Sex Ed Keeps Queer Teens In The Dark

My eyes landed on a digital alarm clock on Bryan’s nightstand. It read 3:12 a.m. in big block numbers. Bryan whispered in my ear, his breath hot on my neck: “Stay there.” My head still spinning from the club, I tried to focus on the clock’s numbers, and only on the clock’s numbers. I added them up to six. I rearranged them in order: 1, 2, 3.

A month earlier, I had come out to a friend over the phone, pacing in the backyard of my parents’ house in rural Oklahoma. I was 20. My feet crunched on dead yellow grass as I walked back and forth in front of a barbed wire fence out by the cows. “I think I’m gay,” I said. With those magic words, a place opened up for me — one where I was no longer hiding, but one where I was utterly alone. Until Bryan.[...]

Soon after we started seeing each other, when he first asked if he could top me, I said, “In what?” I thought he was going to reply Mario Kart or something. It was that bad. I look back, and I think that 20 is pretty old to still not know anything about anything.

But I was the product of a perfect storm of ignorance. Like many young queer people across the country, I didn’t have access to comprehensive sexual education. This was years before Teen Vogue published its controversial anal sex guide, and representations of gayness on TV didn’t really exist beyond the occasional punchline. I didn’t have an internet community to turn to. I didn’t have mentors to teach me. And I never dared to look at porn or dirty magazines, either, because I was afraid of God.

I didn’t even know what “gay” was until I was called it at summer camp. Everything I knew about homosexuality, I learned from other kids. I learned that being perceived as gay meant getting your ass kicked on the regular. I learned that physical intimacy between men was disgusting, something to scoff at, laugh at, gag at. I learned that AIDS was God’s way of punishing the homosexuals for their misdeeds. I learned that their lives were empty.

What I learned from my peers was never corrected in the classroom, where our teachers weren’t allowed to bring up homosexuality in any context other than scaremongering about disease. Oklahoma is one of eight “no promo homo” states — for publicly funded schools, mentioning homosexuality is only allowed in the classroom if it’s to caution students about AIDS.[...]

At 3:12 am, he penetrated me without lube and without a condom. I was passed out on his bed, and when I woke up, he was inside of me. While I stared at the clock and waited for him to finish, my first thought was not that I was being raped. I didn’t know men could be raped. My first thought was that if I pushed him off, he’d be upset with me. Read more via Buzzfeed