It was the last week of my junior year in high school, Gentle Reader; I was desperately jealous of my best friend and better-looking rival, Darling. Not only did he always get the cute boys (who I could thereafter never consider for a moment because I “didn’t want his cast-offs”) but he had just been punched in the face for bringing a boy as his date to a dance.
He was justly proud for standing up for our people, and – oh, I was livid. It’s not as though I wasn’t just as flamboyant, I remember thinking – it just wasn’t fair.
We were on the cusp of a golden, magical, summer, I was the most out and proud that I would be for years. Damn it, I wanted to be a victim of violence, to be baptized in blood, to join my fellow queers in resisting the hatred we were constantly exposed to. I wanted to be the victim of a hate crime, probably because I had a victim mentality and thought suffering=superiority. I was just seventeen.
Also, seriously, I had a huge inferiority thing about Darling – he came out first, he lost weight first, he started driving and joined queer youth groups (that I never joined because I didn’t want to “poach on his territory”), he was much less awkward with the flirting and the sexing – I adopted a prim-elderly-aunt persona to distinguish myself*.
I needn’t have worried that my hate crime would never arrive, though, even if it wasn’t quite as dramatic.
My first car, Prudence, was a 1986 Chevy Blazer that I’d inherited from my folks. The driver’s door wouldn’t open, and the back window had to be open to prevent a dramatic rattling (that we attributed to McCourt O’Leary, the tap-dancing leprechaun). I would always park dear Prue off-campus, below the school. You know, beyond the reach of security.
I’m sure you can see where this is going. The slurs of “FAG!” and “COCKSUCKER!” and all that rubbish painted all over the car weren’t even particularly shocking. The slashing of all four tires was. In fact, it was shocking enough that school officials called my parents before I’d even heard what was going on.
Click the pic for photo credits
I’m sure you can imagine my incandescent mother bursting like fury into the school – an offended dowager has nothing on her. She stormed into the school offices, demanding justice; the principal sent a tepid announcement over the airwaves:
“Tyler Yoder, please come to the Principal’s office”
So I did.
There was a baffled apology from the school, with vague assurances that they’d beef up security the next year; not much else could be done.
Until the culprits confessed a few weeks later, on the last day of school. I got a poorly spelled letter on juvenile-detention-stationary from a pregnant girl, and her boyfriend.
It was clearly written because they were made to write it, but it was a start†.
*I still have to shake this persona entirely off, my dears.
†Seriously insincere, you know. Honestly, in the end I felt very sorry for the pair – they clearly didn’t last, and they were not in a very good situation. Still. I didn’t even really know them, so taking out their frustration on me is baffling. Hooray!