By Donny Winter
© 2014 Diversity Rules Magazine and Donny Winter. All Rights Reserved.
Donny Winter is a gay rights activist on YouTube and recently graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in English and Anthropology. He’s aiming to publish a manuscript of LGBTQ-themed poetry and write a memoir of his high school days where he was a victim of frequent bullying.
Over the years I have discovered something rather astounding. I have met and befriended many LGBT individuals – the primary commonality with all of these individuals are difficult pasts layered with drug use and alcoholism. This is not to say that I have never experienced the sensation of being intoxicated – the difference is that I never developed a dependence on such releases.
A few days ago I had a rather lengthy conversation with one of my gay friends that involved much crying and focused listening. He had been through a lot of heartbreak when it comes to relationships. Like a large portion of gay men (and likely women but I’m utilizing my own experience), he spent his entire teenage span hiding his sexual orientation. Now that he is in his mid-twenties he’s expressed difficulty when it comes to dating. He cannot find another man who wants to commit to a serious relationship. As a result of this problem, he has resorted to drinking his pain away.
I completely understand this problem. I sincerely believe that many gay men in particular struggle with dating after they pass the 25 year mark. As teenagers we miss an intricate part of the learning process in regard to dating. Often times in high school we are exposed to heart breaks and relationship experiences that help prepare us for more serious connections in our twenties.
I can only think of two solutions to this problem. First and foremost we can help promote coming out during adolescence. The situation has improved in schools over the past ten years, however, a lot of teenagers still fear coming out due to the bullying and backlash they experience. The only other solution is handling the dating difficulties experienced in the mid-late twenties. Instead of resorting to alcohol and drugs, one must ask himself why he is suffering. Pinpointing the problem and looking forward will help create a more positive dating mindset. It is difficult to not linger on the loneliness of the past – we must realize that the past is meant to serve as a learning experience.
You can also listen to Donny’s great commentary at his YouTube site at the following address:
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