I recently became reacquainted with an old friend from elementary school through Facebook. Amazing site, that Facebook. We were really good friends back then, but we drifted apart during junior high. I used to compete with him for grades, but he always won. He ended up going to an Ivy League university and is now working on a Ph.D. at a different Ivy League university.
The interesting thing I just learned is that my old friend is gay. I was a little shocked when I found out. Throughout my childhood I had no (known) gay friends. Even through college and graduate school I had very few gay friends. I always felt alone and guilty knowing that what I felt was different from other boys, even before I knew what gay meant. If I knew that a friend, one of my best friends, was also gay, that would have made things much easier to handle.
Back when we were kids, he probably also felt isolated and was afraid to share his feelings just like I was, so I’m certainly not upset with him. It would have been comforting, though, to know that there was another person going through the same thing.