I always knew I was different. Like from Day One. I came into this world with a twin. Did she know what I always knew? Did she perceive it while in utero with me? Whether she did or not, this would never be a problem with us. Us wombmates. Me being gay did not change the fact that I was her brother. Twin brother. Nothing would ever change that. She saw me for what and who I was, but I would later find out that that others would not see me that way. They would see me something less than. Maybe they smelled it on me. Maybe they saw me as some gazelle to sink their hyena teeth into.
Grade school was, for the most part, uneventful. I still did not have a name for what I was, but it did not matter. Not until junior high. Enter the hyenas. They made it hell, and what was so strange about it, it was almost entirely from people who were the same color as me. Someone I had considered a friend now took perverse joy in humiliating me in the locker room. What did I do wrong? Why did they delight in my distress?
This would continue for some years. Well into high school. Books became my haven, my sanctuary. I could envision myself as a superhero. Nothing could pierce my organic steel hide. If I needed to be elsewhere, I would teleport away in a burst of sulfur and brimstone. The winds would bear me aloft and take me wherever I chose. I could do all this and more. As soon as I opened the book, I was somewhere else. Something else. It was okay to be different in this imaginary world. I was more. Took awhile to realize that and to BELIEVE it. Being different, being gay, added to who I was. It did not define me, but it enhanced who I was. I took pride in this multi-layered part of me, this special ingredient that was creating the man I am today. I wore it around, wrapped it around me like a treasured cloak. My brown skin made me different from my peers. My sexual orientation made me different as well. But difference is diversity. Diversity is change. Change is the future.
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