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Before you skim this and go “OMG TOO MANY WORDS!” hear me out.

Reflecting now, my Back to School Edition a while back was very, very incomplete. I don’t know if you noticed, but sometimes BYGays like to have a little fun. And while it’s quaint to think our Back to School lists should comprise of the perfect theme for strutting down hallways,  a unicorn as your ride to school, and a lunchbox with Janet Reno on it, real life gets in the way.

I’m in my mid-20s, so it has been a while since high school. Yes, looking back I think about how fun it was, but at the time, it was HORRIBLE. I was bullied since elementary school (when Becky Dressell–YEAH I FUCKING CALLED YOU OUT) asked if I was a girl or a boy… in the school swimming pool. As she swam away and I was baffled that maybe a girl could wear sweet swim trunks like me instead of covering up her boobies, I realized this was going to be an uphill race.

The classic storyline ensues: “hey girl” becomes “hey faggot,” you get shoved against lockers and tripped down the halls. Maybe you’re told you just might become “the next Matthew Shepard” by school staff  (another baffling moment, to say the least).

We should all survive. But many of us don’t. Just one is too many.

ALL of us are the Brightest Young Gays. We just need the right forces on our side. There are so many great videos coming out by celebrities telling us it will be okay, and the future is so close and will be so better. And they’re SO right. But as “the only gay kid” at my school, I know I wasn’t thinking about the future. I was thinking about what I needed to get by, day to day. So, I am giving you my survival guide, if you are young and need tips surviving (you’re doing great so far, I’m sure of it). If you’ve made it to the other side, 1) congratulations and 2) PLEASE comment below, telling me what your survival guide is/was. These are things we all need to know.

1) The album that gets you so ready for taking no shit, even if you ending taking shit (because it happens). Mine came at 15 with Le Tigre.

2) Best Friends. Whether they be the “quirky” art major students, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen looking their hot messiest, your cat, your mom, or Marla Hooch from A League of Their Own, I couldn’t have imagined surviving without my crew, which encompassed 3 1/2 of those mentioned.

3) The ability to endlessly dream about where you want to be. A quiet coffee shop? Cool. A sweaty bar full of half-naked/naked men or women? Great. A party at Pee-Wee’s Playhouse?! Well, I won’t try to tell you where I would want to be toooooo much.

4) The ability to go with rumors, when appropriate. By senior year, I was able to take less shit (thanks Le Tigre!) and freaked out on one of the football players. Later that day, I was asked more than once if it was true that I hit him and gave him a black eye. Not true, but ehhhhh….. sounds good to me. This can also work for straight girls, though I don’t think the girl who was rumored to have a baseball bat put up her butt liked that very much.

So, there you have it. I know I’m forgetting a lot (like pizza), but I think those 4 items were at the core of my survival skill kit. Because we all wanna go from this:

To this:

AND BEYOND!

And now, your turn. I wanna know. BUT FOR REAL.

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