I grew up on a dairy farm and spent much of my time hanging out with my dad in the fields and the barn. I also got to go to the local farmer hangout – the Roundtop Diner. The other farmers would tease all of us about girlfriends, but I already knew that my attraction was not towards Jill but to some of the younger farmer boys in town, in particular Ned and Lee. I could not quite connect the dots, but I knew at seven that something was different about my hard wiring.
The church life of my community was very much a Hutchison thing. Both my Mother and Father were very active in the church community, in fact the land the church was built on was donated by my parents. Sunday School and Service on Sunday and dinner at Grandmas was a weekly guarantee. My siblings and I were active young members of the United Methodist Church and it was a natural fit. When I was 10 a piece of my childhood was stolen when my father died. I had a powerful faith, even at that young age and I quickly filled in the wide void by getting more deeply involved in my church and faith.
Once in Sunday School class my teacher had us review some bible quotes. One in particular stuck with me, “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” Hebrews 10:35. I was never a shy one so I just built on my confidence and became one of the regular “kids” in town. Bike riding, trying to uncurl the pigs’ tails, challenging the rooster to a duel and just plain hanging out in the wonder of a very safe world. No one ever made comments about gay people, I am not sure we even knew what the meaning of gay was. To be sure a nagging feeling was always there. Why did basketball captain Rodney Plowman hold such an attraction to me and not the Homecoming Queen Sharon Cowan? Sharon even called me her best girlfriend once and I thought that was a pretty cool gesture on her part. And let’s not forget about Ned and Lee, they were looking better and better as time passed. This of course was all fantasy to me, and nothing ever happened, I was not even sure what I was suppose to do. This was long before the web, Will and Grace or Out magazine existed to guide a teenager.
Alas, that fantasy came to an end when I moved on to college and into the work world to discover that “fags” were bad people and worse yet I might be one of them. I struggled major with this, dating, even getting married, thinking that it would all go away and I would be NORMAL.
After all Ward and June Cleaver had a great family life, why shouldn’t I? However, it was not to be and I had to face the reality of who I was. The first few years were not easy, having casual encounters, even falling in love with a married guy but they always ended in sadness. Then I met Paul who was in a similar place to me, but we did not like one another at the start. Over time we established common ground and he was determined to win me over, and the relationship flourished. From there it progressed to outing myself to my friends and family. Most of them said they already knew so I really had had nothing to fear.
31 years later I am proud to say, I am all grown up now, with a lifetime partner who shares many of the same values and interests that I do. I have now come full circle back to a very safe world linked to a very strong faith. Thanks be to God.