I was in Seattle, on the street with my mother. I was in junior high school. I had always admired women.
We saw two ordinary, well dressed women holding hands as they walked down the street. They stopped, kissed each other – chastely but affectionately – and separated with a wave and a laugh. Something I had seen thousands of times between married couples. A tableau of real affection, of love.
My mother said, in disgust, “Lesbians.”
Then I knew what I was. My heart went out to them, even as I knew that they were damned.
It wrenched me to the core. These were ordinary women. They weren’t strange or depraved. They were just like my mother. Except that they were in love. With each other.
And what of me? I had that same feeling for women; was I objectively disordered? Was I in sin?
To prove to myself that I was not a pervert, I forced my virginity on a boy. It was quick, sordid and painful. Everything about it was disgusting. I was sick with myself for days.
I became a slut in the hope that I might be converted from my shameful inclination.
I became isolated.
I could not bear to be with girls. Girls did not want to be with me, a slut.
Boys didn’t want to be seen with me. They did want to be with me, unseen.
Everything about sex disgusted me. It had no meaning for them; its only meaning for me was degradation. I loathed it even as I went back to it, again and again, trying to exorcise the other depravity.
I threw myself into school work. I graduated at the top of my class. My first-choice university accepted me to its honors engineering program.