Gabi Clayton's Guestbook #2 - From 2/25/97 and 4/3/97
I read your storys about your son while i was looking for info on homosexuality for a seminar i have to do in my grade 12 english class.(my chosen topic) I admire you for going to the trouble of sharing your thoughts feelings and his also with me and everyone else who access this home page. I would love more info if you have any...my em address might not be working..though...thanks again for sharing. I share my deepest condolences on a very talented and gifted young man!
Bless you and the memory of Bill. I absolutely join you in the quest for a more just and loving society. This is so necessary and it is something I work on daily as a counselor for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. I am sorry for the deep loss your loved ones have suffered. I hold you and your family in high regard and admire your dedication in sharing your love and the story of Bill so that others may be touched and educated by it. My thoughts are with you. If there is anything I can do for you directly, please let me know!
Thank you for sharing your story. It broke my heart and I get so angry that these things happen. I don´t understand how people can be so stupid and ignorant. I am bisexual girl and I haven´t dared to tell my parents yet but I have a great boyfriend who supports me. I just wish there was something I could do. Bless you.
I am doing a report on hate crimes and found your son's story moving. I can't say that I understand your pain at all, but I greatly respect you for having the courage and resilance to take a stand. You are inspiring hundreds, including me.
--13 years old
it is not homophobic to oppose homosexuality
i feel for your son but I must admit that I am uncomfortable with the homosexual and lesbian agenda.
I am a 48 year old gay man, who has had the courage to come out of the closet three years ago. I am also involved with a local gay youth group for gay, bisexual & lesbian youth. I have given them a print out of your homepage of Bill. I haven't stopped crying since I first saw Bill's page. I really don' know how to deal with the lost I feel for both you and Bill. Something is terribly wrong! Has a now out of the closet gay man, I have not only dedicated my life to be out, I am also dedicating my life in supporting gay youth. The name of the Youth Group is "Positive Images," and it is run by a wonderful gay man, my counselor, and surely mentor, Jim Foster. I don't know where you got the courage to do this homepage, but if it helps Bill's story is going to be shown at one of the meeting, and therefore his story will hopefully help other gay youths!
Santa Rosa, CA
I'm from PFLAG-talk and this is my first time here.
I want you to know that you and Maggie are superheros in my book. (Capes and all!)
James A. Hardison
When I saw the two unsigned entries above, I wrote to my friend Steve
and asked him to have a look. This was my answer to Steve's reply...
From: Gabi Clayton
Sent: Wednesday, February 26, 1997 11:15 PM
To: 'Steve Schalchlin'
Subject: RE: my new guestbook
It's very interesting. and it deserves to be responded to without rancor.
Interesting that he couldn't sign it. What's relevant is that bill's story
affected him enough that he had to post.
My thoughts too. No signature. No e-mail address. Kinda stands out since
everyone else's has them. And it did affect him - which is the whole point.
But I am not sure how to respond.
it is not homophobic to oppose homosexuality
How does one "oppose homosexuality"? What exactly does this mean?
And if that is not homophobic, then what is it? What is he saying - that
homophobic means "fear of" maybe - and that he isn't afraid of "them"
he just thinks they are wrong or sinners or what?
i feel for your son but I must admit that I am uncomfortable with the homosexual and
What agenda? Not wanting to be beaten up at three o'clock in the afternoon,
walking down the street with friends? Well, I am glad that it made him feel
something for Bill. That IS something. Must have seen him as a person for a
moment at least to feel that - before the brainwashing kicked in. Forgive my
Keep holding on to the love!! That will keep you strong and fighting.
"Bill's story" made a huge impression on me. Will cherish it always. I share your tears.
Dear Gabi, I am on the PFLAG mailing list with you, but I have run across your homepage before. I cannot remember if I wrote to you or not though (g). Anyway, I love your page and it is wonderful that you have turned your family's tragedy into hope for other families and people struggling with homophobia and hate. Keep up the great work! Cheers! Caitlin @¿@
I found your tribute to Bill while looking for suicide links. I had a friend who also commited suicide that was linked in ways to hate & preduice. I hope that someday our world will not view people differently because of thier sexual orientation but I fear I am hoping for too much. Like Bill said no one would choose to be homosexual, it has to be amiserable life, always in fear of being "found out", or knowing that people wnat to hurt you. At least Bill and other don't have to be afraid anymore.
I really liked your old pictures... Yay.
Your pages are really well done and easy to understand for a first time user like myself. I remember when Bill died and it was as heartwrenching and crazy for Evergreen students as for the rest of the community.
just borrowing my mother's...
thx - im just starting a group here in denver called denver's radical faeries, which is group mainly for gay men but open to men, wimmn (old english), and anyone who can identify. thx for the story! i just wish we, who are different, dont have to live in the shadows any more but can live the same as anyone, free!
Bill's story touches me deeply because of all the people who are kind and loving that experience the pain of intolerance and hate every day in this country. We must find a way to create a loving world that values each of God's creations. What a better world it would be if only all the Christians could truly reach out and love thy neighbor as Christ taught us. God Bless You in all your efforts.
I'm 16 years old but I'm not gay. That's not the point though. I looked through the guestbook and realized I am not the only one who is researching hate crimes.
I live in a small town in upstate New York and it seems that being homophobic is the only acceptable hate left. People still think it's OK to make fun of homosexuals. It drives me nuts to think that people -in general- are still so closed minded. I admit, I have friends that don't like homosexuals and bisexuals and they know how I feel. They know that I don't agree with them and I think they are wrong. But I also have friends that are gay. I think for at least one of thm, I am the only person they have told. I think we need more people like Bill and you in the world.
Gabi, you should be very proud of yourself and your son for all your accomplishments together.
THANK YOU for SHARING YOUR STORY. If you didnt know it, it has helped, and your efforts to stop this senseless dying is helping too.
It make me feel good to know that there are people out there like you. Maybe this world isnt such a bad place after all.
Thomas L. Rowden
Thankyou for recording your son's life and death. I'm fighting for tolerance and freedom too. I am so sorry that Bill was not able to be the wonderful person he obviously was and that the world still throws up people who are afraid and angry. You two - and Bill - are one of the ways we will defeat this hatred.
prayers and hopes.
Well I finally made it to your page. I am so moved. It's funny, after all the work I've done on my film, "It's Elementary," I don't think I've spent much time thinking about what life will be like for my two young sons should they turn out to be gay or bisexual. Reading about Bill changed all that. Feel free to link to It's Elementary if you like.
All the best,
My condolences on your loss, and my gratitude for sharing your story with us. When I waiver about how much energy I can put into our local DC Area Safe Schools efforts, your son's pain, and yours, will remind me of the urgency of our work, as Bobby and Mary Griffith inspired me to become reach out to sexual minority youth a while ago. And bless you for your wonderful testimony before your legislature.
It is so hard to believe that such hate exists in a "modern" society. I hope that people ready your son's story and realize how much hurt hate does. Those people that use Christianity as their shield for their hatred should read deeper into their bible. Judge Not Least The Be Judged!
I am a 33 year old bi-sexual male. I can not even tell you how your son's story has touched me.
You hear of these stories of hate crimes all the time, but you NEVER get the perspective of their personal life, like the one you just presented to me.
I applaud your sons courage, being that I went to high school in the early 1980's and I lived in a small town in the conservative state of Indiana, YOU DID NOT DARE MENTION YOUR FEELINGS, for fear of
retaliation. It took much courage for him to take on the world like he did. Gabi, there have been many times in my life that I have considered suicide, but I have tried to be strong, but while reading his story, I fell apart because all of those feelings, I have just kept hidden. His story is important, It frees us all. Myself, I got married and lived a lie for many years, now I'm finally dealing with myself and find that I am back to where your son left off, and ya know, it's a scarry place.
I just wanted to drop you a note and tell you how your story about your brave son, gave me the courage and the strength to continue. Thank you for sharing your story.
i just wanted to say that i really admire you and your family for being so supportive of the bisexual community.i am 14 years old and bisexual, and i live in a town where most people act as if homo/bisexuality is a diesese. it makes me really angry--the hurtful remarks i have to put up with every day only prove that people fear what they do not understand. bill's story was very touching and made a huge impression on me--i only wish it hadn't had such a tragic ending...
it's time like this when somebody starts thinking progressive that our world will start to have real progress
I would like to take time out and thank you for sharing your story with us all.
I'm a bi-sexual girl that would like to end all this hatred and ignorance. It was a very touching story that brought tears to my eyes, I wish you all the luck in the world. Although I never knew Bill personally, I would liked to have met him and seen all the good qualities that everyone has said that he obtained. God Bless
Just writing to let you know everything is Ok with using the article on your website. I hope everything goes smooth with the scanner!
Love, Lucy Craig
Thnk you for including my story on your website. The scanner must be wonderful, it make everything look so neat. The photo of Bill you included really touched me, and I think it will others. My greatest fear in the piece was that my use of the photo in the story would be a bad calll, disrespectful, or inaccurate. I hope it was none of those things. Please let me know if anyting made you feel uncomfortable. Thanks again and keep up the wonderful website.
Very touching story. I myself was suicidal as a teenager for the same reasons, and know what he was going through.
I'm one of the fortunate ones who has survived severe abuse for being a gay kid. I'm 34 today. Your story of your son deeply disturbed me as it brought back my past. My love and compassion are with you. Your grief is mine in a very personal way.
With caring thoughts.
Reed E. Campbell
As I sit here, tears streaming down my face, I can only commend you for your bravery and thank you for the efforts you are putting forward working for our rights. I realize that your loss of Bill can never be replenished, but I hope that the gratitude and appreciation of GLBT people can somewhat fill that void you so desparately miss.
Your son's story moved me to tears. I am gay myself and went through high school living in fear of many of the same things your son faced.
I will be graduating from college in 5 months. It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do, but becuase of my own personal struggles and the struggles of people like Bill I chose to enter the social service field working with kids "at risk" if I can just save one "Bill" the suffering he and I, and others, faced will have served a purpose.
i know you will probaly think this is just another sympathy letter but it's not..i am a 16 year old homosexual and can relate to so much of what was in bill's story.... things like hate bashing happen to me too and ppl just seem to cover it up a hope it'll go away.....i am open of course..i don't really get on with my parents so i cant lean on them for help all i have is myself! bill's story brought tears to my eyes and made me relise (again) just how cruel this world can be..i wish and your family the best for the future..
Tears flowed for you while I read of your wonderful son and your terrible loss. I only wish there were some way I could join in your fight against hate crimes and bigotry against any person, whatever their makeup. I do know that I can keep you always in my prayers. You have my deepest respect and caring.
Carol Eden Sansone'
This is a truly wonderful page!
Thanks for providing this beautiful resource!
I am 29 years old and bisexual. As many others have said, your story of Bill's life brought back a lot of feelings for me from my early high school days.
Although there were signs, no one really knew how truly awful I felt about myself and my life every day. I lived in a very small town in North Carolina and felt totally isolated and paralyzed with dread about who I was. The only happiness I allowed myself was through art and music and making straight A's. The rest of my life was dead.
I saw an album title recently called "Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness." AS a teenager, I truly knew what infinite sadness was.
For as long as I can remember, my father frequently made hateful, condemning statements against homosexuality, and my mother, while more compassionate, backed him up with the Bible. It seemed that there was no one in the world who didn't believe that homosexuality wasn't a grotesque sickness or a ticket to Hell, including my two brothers and especially my two sisters. I didn't know that homosexual people could grow up and find mates and live their own lives. I also didn't know that bisexuality was real for some people. I figured, because I was attracted to men also, that my life would be impossible to live and that no one would ever want me or really love me. I never attempted to kill myself, but I nonetheless tried to destroy myself in many other ways--by excessive overeating and weight gain, frequent absence from school, withdrawing from life, and just by hating my very existence. As a result, although I had dated a little, I did not have my first real relationship until I was 27.
Now I am with a wonderful woman who knows me and loves me for who I am. She does her best to understand every part of me and is supportive of me beyond my fondest wishes. We are married and expecting a baby on July 28. And she has two sons from her previous marriage who we continue to educate, in age appropriate ways, about prejudice and hatred towards gays, lesbians, bisexuals and
John D. Ward
(continued) transgendered people.
I grieve that Bill did not make it to find his own way and his own life. He is a victim of hate and prejudice, and he could easily have been me. It is inspiring for you to put your story out there for people to discover, and I hope by now you do realize what kind of difference it makes in the world. Thanks you for doing that. The most important thing you did for Bill was support him and love him when he came out to you--I knew I would not have that from my family, and still would not today.
As I have made my way to where I am now, two songs I love have been very important to me, both done by the Judds when they were still a duet group (and there are many more songs of theirs that mean a lot to me, too). The lyrics of both songs were written by Naomi Judd. One is Love Can Build a Bridge which you've probably heard of. It contains the line "When we stand together, it's our finest hour. We can do anything (anything)--keep believing in the power (of love).
The other is River of Time, written by Naomi about her brother Brian who died of Hodgkin's disease when she was a teenager. It goes like this:
"I'm holding back a flood of tears, just thinking 'bout those happy years.
Like all the good times, that are no more, my love is gone forever more.
Silence so deep only my soul can hear says now the past is what I fear.
My future isn't what it used to be. Only today is all that's promised me.
Flow on, river of time. Wash away the pain and heal my mind.
Flow on, river of time. Carry me away, and leave it all far behind.
Flow on, river of time.
We are all driven by the winds of change. Seems like nothing ever stays the same. It's fate that guides me around the bend. Life's forever beginning, beginning again.
Flow on, river of time. Wash away the pain and heal my mind.
Flow on, river of time. Carry me away, and leave it all far behind.
Flow on, river of time."
My prayers to you as you heal from your tragedy. Thank you for changing people's lives.
John D. Ward
John D. Ward, Atlanta, GA
I read your story about your son and I was deeply moved by it.I just wish this society better understood that being gay does not matter because it is who you are inside that counts. I believe people should look at a person for who they are and not who they sleep with. I feel that if someone finds out that I am gay why should it matter because I am still the same person I was before they found out and if they dont like me afterwards then they did not like me to begin with. I hope I am making sense. I felt inspired to write after reading your story.
God bless you and keep on fighting for all human rights. Bill's Story has touched my heart.
I am a 34 year old bisexual male. I came OUT of the closet four years ago.
I came out for myself, and for those who have falling victim of hate crimes. I want people to know that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people are like everyone else. We are your sisters, your brothers, your fathers, your mothers and the athletes you idolize.
We must learn to love all people--because the one you hate might just be yourself.
Thank you for sharing Bill's Story.
I was fortunate enough to stumble across a link to Bill's story and read it through, twice. You've done a great job of putting a face we can all identify with on victims of hate crime. I noticed that in the list of music played at your son's funeral you include "Shine on You Crazy Diamond"... that made smile. I think means a lot -- it begins "You were caught in the crossfire of childhood and stardom," and ends, "We'll bask in the shadow of yesterday's triumph." Bill's greatest triumph is yet to come and, if this site is any indication, won't be long in arriving.
ever since i was in preschool it's been
assumed that i was "straight". i believe
that's the reason we live in a society
where many people find homo and
bisexuality "wrong"--we are
raised to believe that we should have
sexual feelings only for the opposite
sex. being heterosexual is more like
human habit than human nature.
I can't believe that you had the strength to create such a moving and detailed piece about your son - more than I admire your son for standing up for what he believed in, I admire you for keeping his memory alive and sharing your story with others. I'm sure it really does help others. My mom has been very cool about my sexuality, but I don't think she would the ability to do what you've done. If there is a God, may he keep you safe and your son as well, for the tragedy you have suffered is more than anyone should have to deal with in a lifetime.
Thank you for a moving account of your son's life. I admire your courage. Such testimonies are important.
Bonjour de Québec
I THINK YOU SHOULD WASTE MORE TIME TRYING TO TELL PEOPLE HOW SAFE HOMOSEXUALS ARE INSTEAD OF TRYING TO FORCE THEM TO ACCEPT YOU WITHOUT KNOWING YOU. PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS BE AFRAID OF WHATS DIFFERENT.
I am a 19 yr old lesbian. I am "out" to some of my friends, and apparently to some people that aren't so friendly. Yesterday, I was a victim of a hate crime.
It was very moving to hear your son's story. I realize that this hatred and violence must be stopped. I thought that I was alone in my fight. Now, I know that this is unfortunately happening to people across the globe. I know that your site is important. It helped me realize that I am not alone. Thank you for sharing.