Gabi Clayton's Guestbook #1 - From 12/30/96 to 2/24/97
Hi Gabi! Since running "Bill's Story" in last month's Outlook we've received a couple of e-mails stating how the article moved the reader to tears but also gave them hope for a better tomorrow as long as we have people as caring as you and your family around us.
We were also out for New Year's Eve and MANY people in the nightclub approached us and commented on "Bill's Story" and how they liked the fact that we were including 'personal' stories in the magazine. A lot of them said they were going to check out your site so I anticipate there'll be more letters to add to your response page. Happy New Year!
I just finished reading bill's story and I want to extend my belated sypathys.
I understand the hatred and biggotry that Bill faced all to well. It is wonderful that your family has found so much support in your community, because so many cities and towns simply sweep us under the rug!
I too faced an all out physical assult by a group of teenagers. They told me that I was "going to die", luckily the police came and stopped that from happening.
My Assult was also right in front of the public (in a restaurant parking lot). It scares me to think that these hate filled people feel comfortable doing this openly! What are parents teaching their children?
I survived this attack just as Bill did but the fear and anxiety live on. That is however what my attackers would have wanted. So I strive to put it behind me. I hope I can somehow become stronger for it!
There are alot of "Bills" out there and the hurt lives and breathes. Your strength and willingness to fight this injustice is indeed a positive force in this otherwise dim battle.
Bill's story touched me as I am sure it will others, maybe even those who spread the HATE!
I was very moved by the story of your son's suicide, I'm reeling at the pure hatred and poison he suffered.
I cannot comprehend his pain, and you're pain, but I can certainly empathise, having felt a huge amount of vile and poison from those who feel that we should conform to their view of the world.
I truly empathise, and I think putting Bill's story on the net is excellent.
My heart goes out to you.
Gabi - Thank you for sharing Bill's story. It opened my eyes to yet another issue we need to deal with. It's also one I just don't understand. I will never understand why people hate and why people hurt other people. Take care Gabi. By the way, I found your page on Wes and Tom's site. They are a wonderful pair.
comments are on entry below. Sorry - I put my URL in the wrong place. Been a rough week. By the way, I am from Federal Way, WA
As a thirty-eight year old gay man who continues to struggle with internalized gay hatred I can relate very strongly to Bill's story. While never abused or harrassed I lived constantly in fear. Growing up with crushing feelings of isolation I imagined that I had a switch in my head which when pulled would render me insane. I told myself that I would pull it rather than allow myself to come out to my parents.
I hope his story helps others to know they're not alone and that they are worthy of unconditional love.
Dan, Nanaimo, BC Canada
Thank you for posting this story - I was very moved by it.
It reminded myself of the continuing struggles we face on
a daily basis to educate the world about such tragic hate
crimes. My sincere appreciation for the courage you have
demonstrated thru this moving memorial to your son!
Thank you so much for sharing Bill's story, even though it breaks my heart. I volunteer as a counsellor with GLBT teens, online, and I dread losing any one of my 2000 'kids'. As a straight, Jewish man, I salute you!
I am a senior at New college in S.F. and a 31 year old gay man. I am doing research on Hate Crimes for my senior project and found your son's strorey on the web. Like so many others whose responses I read, I cried. Sometimes crying is hard for me because I have done so much of it these past years as legions of brave men vanished weekly from my life. As hope for the epidemic casts it's first light on the horizon we are renewed, and must rededicate ourselves to fight for the most vulnerable members of our community...our children. Thank you for your bravery and honesty. Your story resonated like a clear bell in my head and my heart opened for your gentle and courageous son. Thank you.
My heart cries out for you.. I have been touched deeply by your pain. I have made a commitment as a mother to help promote gay rights and educate our children about sexual issues and gender. I pray that others will read your son's tory and be touched as I have been.
I subscribe to an internet newslist for gay/lesbian couples, and there I found a recommendation for "Bills Story". I'm glad I took the time to read it, tears came to my eyes when reading what Bill had to go through, but also when reading about how you supported him and the beautiful ceremony you held. I'm 41 years old and very lucky to never have been abused for being gay, in spite of openness for many, many years. My family is supportive and has always been. Thank you for putting the story out on the net; even here in northern Norway we are able to learn to know about what happened to you!!
Thank you so much for sharing what must have been a difficult story to write. I have been a very lucky person in my gay life, despite the troubles. I have parents as loving as you and it has made all the difference. I will pass this bookmark along to others. Best to you...from a gay Pagan.
wow. it was friday, so i thought i'd play around on the Net a bit. little did i know that i would spend the next seven hours exploring your site and one of its links. thank you.
i am a 20 yr old bisexual female from Texas (out for 3 months to my best friends now), who can only hope that when she comes out to her mother (soon, it will be soon...) she will find a love akin to that which you gave your son. i've had nothing but good experiences thus far in sharing my bisexuality with others. i know that can't last, but Bill's story renews and strengthens my faith and hope in myself. thank you for the reminder/wake up call. please accept my deepest sympathies and gratitude.
r c s
I want to tahnk you for creating this page. It drives me crazy to see things like this happen. People don't even realize that it might have a impact like this when they commit hate crimes. His Life was inspirational. Thank you again. I hope you don't mind but I'm puttinga link to your page on mine. Please contact me if there's a problem.Best of Luck -Deborah
Thank you so much. Your son is not forgotten as there is a little piece of him in every one of "us"...we are all a family and mourn, with you, the loss of our brother. At age 32, I can tell you that he was a very special and courageous young man to have lived his life as honestly as he did at so young an age. I will always admire the strength of today's youth and their pride lifts and strengthens me each and every day.
Dear Gabi- I hope you feel encouraged and supported by the many letters that you have received. Thank you so much for all that you are doing!
Dear Gabi, Thank you for "Bill's Story." I'm so sorry about your painful loss...OUR loss, too, in that the world needs sweet souls like your son, Bill. Respectfully, Bernice Harris
Gabi. I have finally signed on to your guest book. You are doing Bill such an honor, through your work, he would be so proud of you and all the work you have done. It is inspirational to me to know you can be so devoted to this cause of fighting hate crimes, and keeping his memory alive. I will never forget that wonderful boy that reminded me so much of myself as a child. He was so special. I thought of Bill a lot yesterday as I do often. I always seemed to forget his birthday when he was alive, but it means so much more now that he is gone. I miss him and know how much you do too.
I love you,
I've just read "Bills Story" and just wanted to express my sympathy at your and your family's loss. Bill sounded like an extraordinary guy with a big heart who deserved a lot more. Unfortunately, hate is universal and occurs in every corner of the globe. Australia, although very tolerant, suffers from the ignorance and bigotry that breeds hate. Thankyou for the story, hopefully it will open some peoples eyes and prevent other young people from experiencing the hatred and bigotry Bill experienced.
All the best, Aaron, Sydney, Australia.
I wish there was something I could say
that would help. I understand the pain
but don't know it. Sincerely my partner
and I wish you all the love and hope in
the world.. Every person is special but
it seems that Bill was a very special
Take solace in the fact that he is in a
special place amongst friends.
Phil & Mark
What a touching story and truly a difficult one for me to read. We are truly lucky to have individuals such as you and Alec to help us fight for our cause. I wish you all the luck in the world as we work together to end such hatred.
Having read every single word of all your pages, i would like to say that you are
truly wonderful people. I am a 33y.o. gay man and have never been put-down or anything like the sort of things your son had to put up with
my family friends have accepted me from the very begininng,and i am truly grateful...You sound like my parents and gabi sounds like my mother..
So MOM #2 you are in my thoughts,prayers and you truly have left a mark in my heart
and i will remember you always.......
Mark Ceglio (MCeglio69@aol)
THIS IS A FRIEND'S COMPUTER AND I AM UNAWARE OF THE E-MAIL ADDRESS FOR IT, SO MY APOLOGIES FOR NOT GIVING IT. I READ YOUR SON'S STORY, YOU AND YOUR FAMILY HAVE MY DEEPEST SYMPATHIES. i HAVE COPIED BILL'S STORY FOR USE IN A CRIMINAL JUSTICE CLASS TO TEACH THE STUDENTS ABOUT THESE TYPES OF CRIMES. I HOPE YOU DON'T MIND. PERHAPS SOMEDAY WE WILL NO LONGER HAVE A NEED TO WORRY ABOUT CRIMES LIKE THIS. UNTIL THEN, I COMMEND YOU IN YOUR EFFORTS.
OUR THANKS AND REGRETS,
OFFICERS REGAN AND TRES BROOKS
OFFICER REGAN BROOKS
I just read the story that you wrote about your son. It moved me a great deal. I am a 19-year0old female who is heterosexaul. I found out shortly after Thanksgiving, that my ex-boyfriend was homosexaul. I have lost a friend in him because of this, but not for the reasons that you might think. He thought that I couldn't understand the fact that he was gay, so he never told me. I lost my trust in my best friend. Your story has given me hope, and I plan on trying to make contact with him again. Your story gives hope to people that aren't prejudiced towards people's sexuality. Thank you for sharing your son's story. I wish you and your family best wishes for always.
My love and prayers are with you,
Jennifer(someone who cares)
Thank you for sharing. Thank you for being a true family. Thank you for being there for Bill.
I feel your story ought to be told over and over again. Bill's story is extremely moving and you are doing exactly the right thing. As the parent of three sons, I would hope I would react the same way under the circumstances. Thanks for being so clear and relevant.
Hello. I just found this website, and I must say, I was moved to tears. I almost became of the same fate as your son when I was seventeen, after the guy I was dating raped and beat me while he was drunk. I wasn't out to my parents or anyone at the time, so I had to lie about who assaulted me. Now that I'm out, I am a much happier person. And I truly appreciate your sharing such a personal story with the world. You and your family are truly an inspiration and an example of love and acceptance.
You don't know me, but i just read Bill's Story. I started crying in the middle of my computer practice. I had to get oput for a couple of minutes. Coming from an officially homophobic country (Lebanon), I've been living in Canada for the past 6 years. Believe me nothing compares to physical and verbal bashing combined... Thanks for the courage to share Bill's story. I hope biggots will read it, repent and get to finally respect us, we who are also created at God's image.
Thank you again, God Bless!
I am touched by the idea of what you are doing for you son, and that you are continuing his legacy. I wish the world could look upon homosexuality and bisexuality with the same understanding eyes that you have.
Gabi, I just realized we've been talking on PFT and I had no idea from whence you came. I too lost a son, my oldest, bi-sexual, also suicide. My heart breaks for you and all the hurt children. I have started a PFLAG chapter in our town and pray that I can help save other children (and their parents) the hurt we share. My love to you. BIG hug (((((gabi & alec))))))
I found this page one of the most moving stories i have ever found on the net.. Its inspiring that your son took so much but still was strong enough to talk in that rally.. Your page has been informitive to both me and my homophobic mother.. its one of the most important things i have found on the web.. thank you.
Yours is the most constructive, meaningful home page I have seen in a year's worth of surfing. I will do all I can to make sure everyone sees it. I do a lot of work with educators (straight and gay) -- homophobia workshops and the like -- and will pass the message along.
I also do a lot of work with young people -- I run a youth group for g/l/b/t teens here in Connecticut, and am co-adviser of our high school's gay/straight alliance (I am openly gay as a high school soccer coach!). The young gay people I meet are so wonderful: caring, compassionate, energetic, ready to change the world. They have issues, to be sure, but they give me such hope for the future. I wish all places were like this part of the country. I thank you for your work trying to make sure that they are.
I also have a great deal of respect and hope for the straight kids I work with. Today, in 1997, the vast majority of them "get it." They ask intelligent questions, treat gay issues with respect, not fear, and are truly the hope of this country as far as appreciation of diversity is concerned.
Thanks again for all you do.
Your son's story is very touching. I can only hope that stories like these will help bring about social change and tolerance for people who do not conform to societal expectations whether it be sexual orientation, ethnic group, sex etc. Keep the faith. S.
I have to say I am very glad that you made a page devoted to your son as you did. I can relate to him in every aspect and found there is hope out there. I too, am a bisexual male. I am not open and very sad that it's tough in this world to be one's self. I'm from the Midwest where it is very conservative and have many friends who are in the closet for the same reason as me. There are many times when I feel there is no one I could turn to and there are no support groups out here. I'm glad to have heard your story and commend you for your continuing effort to educate the close-minded. My prayers and sympathy go out to you and to all others who are in the same situation. :)
Clem Crazy Thunder
Thank-you for allowing us to know (even in this small) your wonderful son, Bill.
Many of us have walked among the same dark shadows as your son. Weeping for "all of us", because we "all" need men like Bill in our lives.
What sorrows come to us because there are no drugs to take away the pain of a broken heart.
We are family togther.
Paul E. Marchant
As a gay men, a father of two teenagers, and a board member of PFLAG in San Diego, I want to thank you for the courage, love and dedication you have given to Bill's Story and this WEB site. I really believe it will benefit numerous people as word spreads about it. I had felt the Gay Equal Rights Movement didn't have its martyrs- those willing to die so the rest of us can advance. Yet, reading Bill's story and responses from so many others who have been hurt by prejudice, I now realize Bill, whether he wanted to or not, is among the martyrs who will make it possible for other youths and adults to lead a full, productive life without fear; because their stories will be spread by wonderful mothers like you. I thank you and bless you for your love and courage and this WEB site. You probably have read Prayers for Bobby about another mother who fought her son's homosexuality and his eventual suicide. We, as parents, do what we believe is right, and your son , even with love and support, still felt he had to do what he did. He will rest in peace , as you carry on the fight for him and all the other young men and women.
Thank you agin for sharing your story and love.
Doug P. Lane
Gab-thought I would surf over for another look at the letters on Bill3- they are so heart-warming!
I am sure Bill would be so proud of his mom!
I am both saddened and enlightened by Bill and his family's story. To know that he went through so much angst and pain due to something that he (and all of us like him) have no control over is sad, but the fact that he has such an AMAZING family is brilliant. Your story has inspired me and encouraged me to take that next step in coming out to the circle of wonderful people around me. Thanks Gabi, for sharing this very personal story. Nat :)
I am doing my Senior paper on Hate and I appreciate the contribution that your memorial to your son has given me. I also believe that speaking out against hate crimes is the only way to educate the ignorant.
Gabi, I cannot possibly begin to tell you how much I was touched by the story about your son, Bill. I find it appalling that, even in our "enlightened age", people can be so ridiculously closed minded. It's very touching that you have dedicated this site in the memory of Bill in hte hope of increasing the awareness of what kind of damage such hatred and closed-mindedness can cause. Keep the faith, and feel free to write me.
I just finished reading "Bill's Story" and i wish to pass on to you my belated sympathy's. I know what it feels like to have some one close to you die (suicide), my grandfather, stepfather and my dearest uncle all took their own lives. I am a hetrosexual female so I can't say that I know how Bill felt but I do know how Bill's friends felt when he was abused and insulted. My best friend is a gay male and I get so upset when he is insulted that I just want to commit hate crimes against straight ignorant people. I know I cant though because I would not want to lower myself to those standards. I care for my friends whether they are black, white yellow or straight, gay, bi, or transexual. As long as they respect me I respect them and that is what friendship is. I love those who love me and that is all I what from my friends.
You have my thoughts for now and ever
Gabi, thank you so much for sharing the
story of your son Bill on the Web. I
found out about the Bill's Story site
from a post in a bisexual message area
I am a bisexual woman (and the e-mail
contact for BiNet Colorado). I am also
the mother of a thirteen-year-old girl, and my brother took his own life at the
age of 28. (His suicide was not related
to sexual orientation or abuse, but he
was being treated for depression at the
time.) Therefore, I am touched by your
story on several different levels.
Bill was blessed to have parents like
you, and you were blessed to have a son
like him. I hope that we all can
maintain the energy and courage to keep
working for a time when the assaults that Bill suffered are no longer acceptable in our society.
Thanks so much for setting up this
website. I have read all the responses
on it, and I am heartened to see so many
people active and willing to be out--
both GLBT people and their loving families.
I would like to thank you so much for you son's story. It touched me deeply. I myself am gay. I just recently turned 23 but it was certainly no easier for me to come out to my parents, though I thought it would be because I didn't live with them. Your being so understanding and supportive of your son probably helped him go on. Although his life was ended too soon, your love and support helped keep him here that much longer. That is love and support that most of the gay, bisexual, and transgendered youth do not have. I find that to be especially true with the parents of bisexuals and trangendered youth. There is no understanding of these orientations. You're either one or the other in most of our parents generation's eyes. You are wonderful loving caring people, and that seems to be a trait that carried on in your children.
Again thank you.
Hi! I am an out gay freshman, currently attending Vassar College. I am the co-Chair of Vassar's Gay Straight Alliance, I am a queer-safe space intern and am the co-Director of Web Resources for BiGALA. I have so many emotions swirling in me. They all culminate at only a few, not-so-descriptive words:
Greg R Morisse
Thank you for sharing Bill's story. I know and believe that every time stories such as this are shared, lives are saved, lives of other "Bills" out there. That is worth everything. May God bless you and your efforts to eradicate the hatred and ignorance that did this to Bill. The National Gay Pentecostal Alliance, of which I am a Presbyter, also has a dedication to reaching out to young people. After reading the book Prayers For Bobby, we named the church library here after Bobby and determined among ourselves to do something to reach young people faced with sexuality issues before they do something irreversible. At the same time, individuals among us have made the commitment to try to dispel the ignorance and fear and hatred that make adolescence such a dangerous time for so many.
Rev. William H. Carey
I read Bill's story today and am so moved. God bless you, your son and your family. I am a gay man, now 40 years old, who attempted suicide when I was 19 years old. It seems like such a long time ago but I remember vividly the many years of unhappiness and struggle. I am now in a position to serve and help others. By sharing Bill's story, you have helped me recommit to my dream of service. Thank you. His legacy continues.
Love you're page. Your work on behalf of GayLesBiTrans people is so very important. We're ever so lucky to have you in our corner. -- Peace, Broph
Ed "Broph" Brophy