The record that this song is off of came out exactly 18 years ago. I was in grade 13 and it was a few months before my 18th birthday. I felt like I had the whole world ahead of me, but little did I know, my life would begin to fall apart in the few months after I heard this relatively unrelated track.
I was living with my mum and her welfare bum boyfriend had just moved in. Because of male privilege, everything my mum earned went to him. It's always been that way and I had been well trained in the subservience of my position as ordained by birth. I'd just been outed by my sister and my mum alternated between trying to hook me up with the sons of her friends and being accepting, depending on which combination of psych drugs she was on at the time. I was being seriously bullied at my school because one of my so-called friends outed me. I was a small and quiet kid, too, so I'd get beat up pretty often and chased all over. I had to share a locker with a girl named Jessie and we used to get it vandalized almost daily due to me being the school freak. It was the expected existence of the queer kid. Teachers used to even get in on it and I got kicked out for 3 weeks for displaying an "unacceptable lifestyle" after some teacher reported me for being a queer and lost my better classes and had to switch to ones they knew I could ace in half the time.
Another stressful thing occurred in this span. 4 dudes who I thought were my friends drugged me, raped me, and knocked me into next week. Luckily, I was so concussed that I don't remember complete details to this day, but the shame was upon me. The men bragged about "fixing the dyke" and were congratulated wherever they went. My mum's boyfriend had an inkling about what may have happened, but I was in such shock and felt so humiliated that I denied everything. But people knew, and there was no sympathy for me or the only other queer kid in town, who had also been beat up and had her bike tossed in Georgian Bay. I remember her story actually made the paper and I also remember the op-eds and letters to the editor basically saying that thee lesbo got what she deserved and that freaks shouldn't be allowed in town. She quickly moved away after this.
Now, occasionally, my dad would stop in for one of his visits that were supposed to be every two weeks. He used to sometimes drop me off at the Church Street Community Centre in Toronto where I got to hang with other queer kids and didn't feel so alone. Pop thought I was going to a support group, but they were really meetings to organize a help line for LGBT kids that still exists to this day. It was cool and even though I didn't understand the hip city homo speak, it was still awesome and I made a couple of acquaintances.
Cue back to the everyday...
My pop had been paying mum $100 a month in child support for YEARS. It was based on his income from 1982, so she decided it was time for little Mr. Growth Spurt to start paying off. She wanted him to give her plenty of cheddar and me one fine education. I wasn't aware at the time, but there was some serious gamesmanship going on in the corners. There was supposed to be a court hearing scheduled for a few days before I graduated. My dad somehow got me to write my exams early and convinced me to move into his place until shit simmered down. He won the war and my mother still has not forgiven me for falling for dad's plan. (For his part, dad maintains he was doing the right thing by sticking it to my mother.)
So, while I was at my dad's flat, I worked some shitty jobs and my dad convinced me to stop taking my psych meds. He sent me to an interview at the company he worked for where they humiliated me for not being enrolled in a fancy-pants university. I'm not sure what kind of bullshit dad told to get me this interview, but it was clear that I was not elite enough for them.After a couple of months the coast was clear, so dad sent me to live in some group home that was intended for abandoned young people. It was at Danforth and Pape and this is where I taught myself how to eat like a king for under 80 bucks a month. I eventually got kicked out of the place for having a mental episode and lived in shelters and on the street for quite awhile. The shelters would kick you out during the day, so I'd hang out in the Toronto Reference Library and read about Reed Erickson and Alan Hart and the Daughter of Bilitis and all of the rest of the old guys and gals who came before me. And while I was immersed in the stories of the heroes, this song may very well have been in my head.
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