A few years ago, I chronicled my experience of being kidnapped in Fold ’74. The titled referred to being forced to become something other than myself. Today, I posted the following publicly on Facebook.
2 years ago I came out on Facebook as a rape survivor.
There is more to the story than just an ugly evening. As a 15 year old, I was a lonely gay kid. Naive and desperate, I braved hostile unknowns searching for community.
On Memorial Day, 1974 I saw another gay boy for the first time. His adult “guardian” convinced me my life would only get sadder at home. He invited me to live with them in NYC. He promised that there I would find everything I was looking for. I went.
But his plans had nothing to do with fulfilling my dreams. I was kept hungry, probably drugged more than I knew, molested and prepped for sale. On that Thursday night I was raped twice. I believed I was going go be killed or just end up dead. A country boy escaping into the city’s early hours was extremely dangerous, but I did. In shock, I allowed my family to quietly write off the incidence as “running away”. I stayed silent.
For decades, the anniversary was a quiet hell. I observed the week with the dark memories looping through me. I had never been clear about the extent of the trauma, so it was difficult to convey what I was going through. Recently, with tremendous support, I have come to understand these events. With this clarity I have a growing peace with my past and myself.
The tone of anniversaries has changed as well. Keith suggested building a new tradition to mark it. I pondered a celebratory diner, or an evening out. But these feel hollow. I want this tradition to mean something, be outreaching and helpful.
There is a place that makes me smile everytime I walk by. Oftentimes in passing I am overwhelmed with joy and tear up. It is a safe place, not only for gay kids, but the entire alphabet. At The Attic LGBTQ youth can come together and be themselves.
Learning from the past, I want to fortify the future. In remembrance of what I survived, Keith and I are making a donation to The Attic. I invite you to join us in supporting them as well. Every little bit will help to keep those welcoming doors open.
The original post is at https://www.facebook.com/donate/1125175510998290/10215554053498290/
The facebook donation page is closed, but you can support the Attic Youth Center directly at https://secure.givelively.org/donate/attic-youth-center