I can hardly say that I was anything close to normal when I grew up. But I never even considered the possibility of being gay. The first years on elementary school, one of my best friends was Berit, a girl in my class. She was caring and feminine, and we were quite happy together, but never anything but friends. In forth grade I became the victim of bullying in my class, and somehow the friendship with Berit dried away. I also realized that girls was pretty boring, and spent most of my time with two of the boys in my class, Vidar (who really didn’t want the rest of the class to know we were close friends), and Henning who was strong and loyal, and who always stood up for me. In my early puberty, I came to the conclusion that girls sucked, and that this really was a good thing. I could not picture myself with a girl as a really close friend, but I pictured myself having sex with girls and women all the time. My favourite waste of time when I was bored (like when I was in a car and didn’t have any toys handy) was to think about tits.
In seventh grade I moved to a new, private school to get away from the bullying and a raising drug problem in the public schools. We were two new kids in that class, Hallstein and me. He was a genius, talented in all intellectual disciplines, and he played the piano as a pro. Everyone loved him, except me. I hated him. And that feeling was mutual. For a whole year we did anything we could to make life miserable for each other’s. In eighth grade we continued competing about being the smartest one. I knew, of course, that he was the smartest one, but I didn’t want anyone else to know. Luckily enough, he was very much a nerd, skilled in areas that was not very cool – like languages, philosophy, literature, music, math and so on, while I knew anything that was worth knowing about handguns, and was skilled with electronics and mechanical things. I had also more fantasy, and was a much wilder and provoking character. But one day everything changed.
Just after I turned 14, I had actually started to appreciate Hallstein’s company. In a very short time we had became sort of friends. I spent all my free time being with him, or thinking about him. For the first time since first grade I actually looked forward to going to school. One day he was home ill, I felt depressed and alone. And after about two weeks like this, I realized that I was in love with him. That was a shock. I was not in any way prepared for this. Me being gay? The very thought was ridiculous. I had never in my entire life pictured myself dating a boy, or felt any sexual attraction (that I was aware of) towards boys. But the strength of my feelings for Hallstein was too strong to hide away. I really wanted to see him, hear his voice, and make him smile. And I wanted to hug him. I wanted to hug him so hard that it hurt. But I was also seriously scared and confused. In a snap my live was turned upside down. I had no real idea about how to be gay. I knew how to be heterosexual, cause I had been that all my live – at least that was what I’d thought. I knew that most people would laugh of my behind my back, or right up in my face. I also knew the contempt they felt for homosexuals, cause I’d shared that contempt until a few seconds ago! I had nowhere to turn, nowhere to escape. I thought about killing myself. I hoped that I would wake up the next morning, not feeling this way any more. But the next morning I understood the deep truth in all the love songs I’d ever heard!
For two weeks he was my entire universe. Then the feelings faded a bit, and I just felt a very strong, close friendship. And for the next two years we were best friends. We even had some adventures together, like when we ran off to another country together, after having planned the escape for six months! But it would take another five years until I told him that I’d been in love with him. At that time he had married one of our collage teachers and had became a father.
When the feelings for Hallstein relaxed a bit, I thought that the love thing was just a youthful confusion, and that I was straight. I flirted with girls, fantasized about girls, but never fell in love with girls. Then after a couple of months, I fell in love with Hallstein again for the second time.
The next year, when I was 15, my class travelled to Sweden to live on a farm for two full weeks. We should learn how farmers lived, and spent our time working on the farm. I liked it, and actually considered being a farmer. One night I had a dream. My family had a cottage by a lake on an island outside my hometown. About 3 km from my cottage, the family of a classmate had a cottage. He was rarely there, but his 13 year old brother Terje was there all the time in weekends and holidays. This night I dreamed that I met Terje on that island and that we were friends. The next morning I realized that I had fallen in love with Terje. And this time it was different. This was for real. This was the guy I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I felt trapped on the farm and couldn’t wait to get home. The first ting I did when I came back to school was to make friends with Terje. He was wonderful. So full of enthusiasm and life. But the age-difference bothered me. He was still just a kid, and I decided to wait until he was 16 to tell him what I felt. Two long years later, a while after he’d been 16 and I 18, we were alone in his cottage. I got pretty drunk that evening. He didn’t drink at all. So I told him. He was a bit surprised, but he admitted that he had been wondering if I loved him. And it was ok with him. But he was straight he said. Yea right! I thought. And decided to wait for him for whatever time it would take. When I finished school, I didn’t see him much. I called him from time to time to tell him that I still loved him, but he had his own life now. At 19, he died in an accident.
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I hade a pretty tough time the first few years after I discovered that I was gay. All my friends told jokes about these filthy assfuckers, and everyone was convinced that it was wrong to feel attraction towards one of the same sex. But I knew for a fact that that was not true. I knew that my feelings were pure and true. I knew that if I hugged a boy I was in love with, it would be wonderful, and not at all filthy. I wanted to stand up, tell what I felt and kiss the boy I loved. I wanted to dance with him. But I knew that this would never have been accepted. And I would not only bring shame to myself, but also to Hallstein. Or later, Terje. Or a dozen other classmates I fancied for a short time when I was 14 – 16. For years I had to keep quiet about my most important feelings When my classmates started to date, and had their first sexual experiences, I had to pretend that I liked girls, and that I lost interest before it got too serious. I had to hide my jealousy when Hallstein got his first girlfriend. The gay role models of that time were tragic characters in American soup operas. I had to find my own way without any help from anyone. It was tough.
It’s still tough to grow up gay. Even in Norway (after what I’ve read, it’s living hell in the US). But things are getting better. Today we have the Internet where gay kids can find information, role-models and also boyfriends. The reason that I write all this, right now, is that I saw a TV-ad for a gay youth help phone, that visualized my own burning desire when I was 14, and brought back a load of long forgotten memories. Dancing with someone you like is daily-life for most kids today. But for gay kids, it’s still just a dream. You can see the TV-ad here. (You need quictime to watch it)