Gabi Clayton's Guestbook #4 - From 5/19/97 to 7/8/97
This new guestbook was started on 5/19/97. You can read the older ones and all the response pages too -- the link to responses at the top of the page will get you there.
Thank you for visiting my website and for signing this guestbook.
Gabi - thanks for your website. I am a gay man who almost ended it at 18 yo, for reasons probably very similar to Bill's, and others like him. But I survived... It is now one of my deepest desires to do whatever I can to support gay youth in seeing their unique place in society as a blessing rather than a curse...it's gonna take a lot of work, but my feeling is that it's time, it's now, and we're the ones to do it! My love to you and your family...
I'm truly sorry about what happened.
I hope he is happy where ever he is.
It sounds like you raised a warm wonderful child. Best of luck to you.
I was feeling down when I found this page. This page brought out some of the tears that I desperately needed to shed.
I'm sorry about your son's suicide. He sounded like a sweet boy.
I want you to know that I admire your determination in abolishing all this hate in this world and I admire your love, courage, strength and understanding.
I want you to know that I belive that one day, our dream for a place where people can love each other freely without the existence of hate will be realised.
And I want to thank you for fighting a battle that I have no courage to face.
Like many others, I was touched by your website and your deication and love.
I was especially interested in your activism. I, too, would like to get involved in "human rights" (gay rights), but I do not know how.
By the way, I intern for my state (California) assemblyman (who is Republican, but pretty pro-gay rights), and I finished his press file. An anti-discrimination (toward gays) was sponsored by many, and I think the jury's still out...
Forgive me for not write in english correctly. But your son's story was touch my deeply heart. As a bi-married man, I can understand all the problem which might be caused an ironic and tragic decisions. I think - not like in asian country - the freedom of speak, freedom of human right, equality, the opennes in USA, have a good side to rise self confidence for the young gay/bi-people. But at the oher side, those things could be a 'boomerang' to us. The more people know about us, the more 'chaos' would be a time bomb surrounding us and ready to blow anytime. The more people paid an attention and cared about us the more we feel how weak we are. It's true that the world not ready to accept us, and we have to fight for our rights. But that 'fight' always need a 'victim'. I would not be proud, if (supposed) that my son's life have choosen to be a 'victim' of that such 'noble-fight'. In my opinion, enough that just the parents know about our 'sex-problem' without offering us to other people/organizations. Let us find the way by ourself. Don't act to support us like 'cheer-leaders' at the super bowl! We wont say, 'no, mom' because we know that you love and care of us so much. Bill has the great parents like mine, who always try to understand our problems and act like a friend to share. And let our life going on normaly. At last I found someone special who understand me and love me, she treat me in a different way like my parents. She gave me a 7 month-cute son. I love them very much. I also love my parents, but once again: 'in a different way'.
Sorry, if this letter might be bothered you. But I wrote those frankly from the bottom of my heart.
What can possibly be said.
You are indeed a wonderful mother! Thank you for sharing Bills story with the world. I live in Sydney, Australia and the homophobia in my country is sometimes unbelievable. "Faggot" or "Poofter" is the lowest insult you can call someone; public opinion of myself and my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters is that low. Basically, we are the scum of the planet. I know hate very well. Although I have never been bashed or assaulted, I endure insults and "the look" whenever I am with my boyfriend out of doors. I was sacked from my job when it was deduced from the evidence that I am a "dirty, filthy poofter" to quote a work-mate, and have been unemployed for 11 months. Unfortunately, the world is evil. It's that simple. When I was younger and full of hope and vision, I believed we could change the world. But now I know we can't. I certainly hope I'm wrong in this. I don't wish to sound too pesimistic, but my life experiances have made me see this. Once again though, Bills Story is an inspiration. Thank you.
William J. Gorry.
Note: This is my reply to the man from Indonesia, four letters above this.
You said you hope that your letter did not bother me. I must tell you that it did, and I would like to tell you why. First I need to say that I understand that there are cultural differences with us. The reason I am not simply letting this go without comment is that it sounds like you are talking about what it is like here in the US. I don't know what it is like for you in Indonesia, but I have learned a lot about what it is like here in the last two years. And I will continue to learn for many more, I am sure.
"It's true that the world not ready to accept us, and we have to fight for our rights. But that 'fight' always need a 'victim'. I would not be proud, if (supposed) that my son's life have choosen to be a 'victim' of that such 'noble-fight'."
Bill did not choose to be a victim -- those boys who assaulted him did not ask his permission before they beat him. He might have chosen not to call the police -- or not told them that the assault was a hate crime because of his sexual orientation. He might have chosen to be silent -- but he did not. Yes, there was a public rally after the assault, and he also spoke to the press. He made those decisions -- and we -- his family -- respected and supported his choices.
In many ways there were no good choices. The whole thing -- the beating and what followed it -- was a crisis for him, and for us all. We all did the best we could with a horrible situation.
"In my opinion, enough that just the parents know about our 'sex-problem' without offering us to other people/organizations. Let us find the way by ourself. Don't act to support us like 'cheer-leaders' at the super bowl! We wont say, 'no, mom' because we
know that you love and care of us so much. Bill has the great parents like mine, who always try to understand our problems and act like a friend to share. And let our life going on normaly."
I do not believe that being gay/lesbian/bi/transgendered is a "sex-problem" any more than being heterosexual is. I believe that being bi-sexual as Bill was, or being gay, lesbian or transgendered -- is normal. And there is nothing Bill would have liked better than to live a normal life -- by that I mean a life where he could be open about who he was without fear of being beaten, or fired from a job, or called ugly names and hated.
"I think - not like in asian country - the freedom of speak, freedom of human right, equality, the opennes in USA, have a good side to rise self confidence for the young gay/bi-people. But at the oher side, those things could be a 'boomerang' to us. The more people know about us, the more 'chaos' would be a time bomb surrounding us and ready to blow anytime."
I have a different perspective than you do when you say that the more people that know, the worse, or more chaotic it will get. The way I see it silence on our part is where that time bomb grows. Education is what will diffuse that bomb.
We cannot turn back the clock and have everyone go back in the closet. It didn't work back when that was the way most people lived, because the closet is so painful and suffocating. No-one should have to live like that -- in fear. That is why it changed -- is changing.
What I see is that the other side of this cultural war or upheaval or whatever you want to call it is now filled with high powered hate mongers. They are quite vocal, and they stir people up to see our children as less than human, and make it OK -- even honorable -- to do things like what those boys did to my son. They get a lot of power -- and may even make a lot of money -- on the hate they peddle to whomever will listen."
No one forced Bill out -- and I remain very proud of his courage. At the same time, I am well aware of the dangers that can face someone who comes out -- far more aware than I ever wished to be. I believe it is every individual's choice. Now that he is dead, I have to make choices now about how public to be with his story. I believe that telling it can help educate people and open their hearts. If you read the responses on my website you will see that is happening.
Finally, you said,
"The more people paid an attention and cared about us the more we feel how weak we are."
That makes absolutely no sense to me at all. Paying attention and caring do not make a person weak. That is part of loving someone. That is part of what makes us strong.
Take care --
Very moving story. As a writer for Australian gay press, it reaffirmed to me exactly why I I'm in the business I'm in. It is summed up in the simple but ever truthful phrase/slogan "homophobia kills"
Keep fighting for freedom and justice.
A uniquely inspiring page, which moved me deeply. I'm a 29-year-old Swedish economist (who happens to be gay), and it feels good to have people like you working for increased acceptance.
Hi, my love:
Just read the latest responses to Bill's Story -- and sat here with unexpected tears rolling down my cheek. The torment and anguish which your correspondents recount in their own lives reflects that which OUR Bill had to endure. Noel's expression of love and gratitude for the support you, he, Alec and Catherine have received from around the world proves, without any doubt whatsoever, what a remarkable young man OUR Noel really is. You are my Valiant Warrior, dearest Gabi. Your strength, your courage and your love make a profound difference in the lives of good men and women around the world. Your unrelenting devotion is Bill's gift to the world. And we WILL triumph -- one heart at a time. My respect and love for you are boundless.
Gabi, this is truly a miracle- that we have found each other, that we are at each other's fingertips for support and love. We are with you- every step of the way! Love, Linda
...one heart at a time.
Well thank you. Its shocking to see the simlarities between your son's struggle and my own. THANK YOU for speaking up. I am amazed that people still think this problem of gay suicide is a myth. I am 20 years old. I have been in and out of depression for about 6 years. (after finding out i was gay) It is a constant struggle. Hopefully, people will read this page and finally understand that something must be done. Things musrt change: in our schools, community,family, churches and hearts.
Truely beautiful and inspiring.
It is very sad, but true. I do plan on sending you an e-mail and talking to you. I also send my deepest condolences to you, family, and friends. I will keep in touch. . .
I was greatly touched by Bill's story.
It brought back a few painful memories of my own years of growing up as an isolated gay youth in Florida. Memories
that I had driven out of my conscious.
I finally moved to San Francisco, where
the community is so overwhelmingly gay friendly that it's all too easy to forget that what we have here is all too rare in the world. When my partner and
I walk hand in hand down the street we
all too often forget how rare the opportunity to do this is. Those of the
religous right find it too easy to forget that Jesus admonished those who would follow him that what they did to the least of men would be the same as doing it to him. I doubt very much that
lesson will be told to the boys who gaybashed Bill.
Gabi - I'm gay too but I'm living in another part of the world where the folks here are still very very conservative. Though I'm open in my personal live I can't be too open. What sadden me most is to see or hear of young people dying without a chance to the many lovely things of this world. On the better side, I glad to see that you and Alec had been a very exemplery parents and hope that more parents can be as understanding as you. Being gay, bisexual, lesbian or heterosexual is not about being right or wrong but a journey of self discovery. I can only wish you all the best because of where I am but do let me know if you need 'signatures'. Mine will always be for you.
Gabi - this is add to the reply to xxxx
First you did a great job. I'm Asian too and I'm 100% gay and I totally agree with you that education helps people understand what being a homosexual means. Many, many people has the wrong misconception of us because they categorise us as effiminated, sexually craze people. They can sees us as those that from what they hear and relate us to those that demostrate they sexuallity physical. They don't see the human aspect of us.
I began to really accept myself, without caring what they think of me, about 2 years ago. And guess what, I never felt more happy and real. And I love it. I believe Bill felt that too when he told you about it and you still accepted him. What Mr xxxx don't understand is being real. This world has enough hippocrates telling us what to do.
Dear Clayton Family,
Thank you so much for sharing your story with the world.
It's always heartbreaking to hear that things like this are
still happening. I'm sure you realize from the responses you've
received what a difference you are making in people's lives and
attitudes about discrimination. It's people like you who are going
to help this problem go away.
I am a 26 year old gay man who has been out for four years. I remember
what it was like to be 17 and suicidal about my homosexuality. I felt
the same kind of helplessness that Bill felt, although I was fortunate
not to have experienced the kind of violence that Bill did. I still endured
a lot of verbal abuse. My parents were very supportive of me too and I
remember that it didn't seem to matter at the time. Hate from other people
and society in general can really overwhelm a person. It's really hard as
a teenager to see past the present and realize that things get better. I
wish someone could have gotten that message through to Bill, though obviously
it wasn't for lack of trying.
The hate and ingnorance that exists in this world never ceases to
astound me. Humans throughout history have seemed to have such a
problem accepting others who are different.
I grew up in conservative Virginia and I once thought all I had to
do was move somewhere more progressive and I wouldn't
have to worry about discrimination or violence. Unfortunately, it's
everywhere, from small towns to gay ghettos.
I am a member of the Human Rights Campaign which strives to end
discrimination of all types, especially against homosexuals.
This story moves me further into the fight. I hope as you continue
to tell your story, that it moves others to do the same and they realize
that their silence and fear are what makes these tragedies occur.
Best wishes to you.
Thank you for sharing your story.
There were tears in my eyes as I read your testimony. My son too tried to commit suicide last december. I, as a gay father know the pain of living with hatred and cruelty. I hope that you can find solace in the work that you are doing and that the heart felt thanks of us, the recipients of your largess, can move you into new beginnings and relationships.
I want so much to make your loss disappear but that is an impossiblitiy. The only thing I can do is stand here and share your pain and thank you for your determination to live and honor the memory of a truly precious child.
How's it going today?
How are we ever supposed to get anything done if we keep chatting all night!
And on that note, thank goodness that I have so much fun stuff to do that I do not have time to clean my house!
Imagine what fun life would be if we were so busy cooking and cleaning that we had no time for the things we enjoy!
So glad we met-you have made a tremendous difference in my life!
We will meet again soon!
I sit here dumbfounded with no clue what to say I have been enthralled with your site for the past 2 hours. I had a message all planned when asked to sign your page but seems so
inappropriate and unsubstantial now.
I have sat here for the last hour in tears I do not remember when I have cried like this. It brings back such horrible memories of hate and violence while at same time restoring my faith in humanity to see the outpouring of love.
I find myself now thinking of Ryan White he was such a special child truly a gift from God. Yet he was taken from us before his time . He died alone and heartbroken due to the way he was treated by society.
I thought we had really made progress in this time I know we still have a long ways to go but we must continue the fight until there is not breath left in our bodies.
We must unite and overcome such hatred and violence and make sure that these precious gifts from God were not lost in vain.
My heart bleeds for you , I feel your pain and wish I could do somerthing to take it away.
You are a remarkable woman thank you so very much for allowing me to
peek into your life and share your tears.
Thank you Gabi
It's amazing how Bill's story made me see life in a different way!I used to give importance to such silly things in my life,and after meeting Shawn,you and all the NuBiHeS I could see that life was much more than my eyes could reach!
I just have to thank you all for helping me to find the better person inside of me,and also showing that we don't have to be geographically close to someone to feel such an amazing friendship!
I love you with all my heart! *HUG*
My dear Gabi: As I read the latest responses to Bill's story, I am again touched by the power and by the thought that as we continue to unite. We will make a difference! Love you much and all that you do for all of the NuBiHe's and the rest of the world. Ronda
I am at a loss for words. Bill's story has touched every emotion in me. I can only say it no surprise that he was so highy admired seeing the warm, loving family support he was so fortunate to have. I am lucky to be able to live my life as an openly gay man in Toronto but the early years were hell. But thanks to a strong gay community and many many wonderful supporters such as yourself and orgnizations such as PFLAG young people today have a much better chance of being themselves in a more accepting society although we still have a long way to go. I just want to THANK YOU and express my admiration and respect to you and your family for sharing your story.
I am sad and scared...i am bisexaul and my closest friend's know...i am scared of what i am and how i feel...they care but it is more like a game...i am sorry for Bill and it hit's me hard because i was 14 when i told people...when will the pain end...when will it end...
Hey Gabi! *HUGS*
So great to be your friend, you ARE a hero of mine, you know this? And I don't worship false idols either! ;O)
I was reading some of the letters on your page....
You are very loved my friend, thanks for fighting the good fight. *HUGE HUGS*
sad and how well i understand his story
need i say more.
I am a 41yr old lesbian. I have been through much of the same crap, although I am able to leave most behind now. Bill's story moved me to tears-I would like to see an end to these indignities in my lifetime. Bless you.
Gabi I have told you how special I think you are in private now time to publicly state my affection. I feel that I'm a better person for having in some small way being part of your life. I have learned a lot from you and I hope together we will grow and become great friends.
Much love and Respect
Thank you for sharing Bill's story with us. I am sorry you and your family had to be put thru so much, but it sounds like there is a lot of love in your house. I hope many others will read your work so I have posted it on the GLSTN-Austin site (http://www.geocities.com/WestHollywood/4611/suggested.html).
Once again, I read the responses to your story and Bill's story and, once again,unexpected tears are streaming down my face.
It warms my heart to see the outpouring of love on these pages from our friends, from MJJ, from Brad, and to know that all of us are joined in the battle against senseless intolerance, bigotry and condemnation of our brothers and sisters. We must never surrender and never maintain the silence where hatred grows and festers.
To Billy, who asks, "when will it end, when will it end," I say, "Soon, my friend, soon. We shall overcome the ignorance which condemns us to second-class status. Soon."
All my love,
Don Kirkpatrick 6/26/97
Thank You for having the courage to tell this story. Bill was truly blessed to have such a wonderful mother. I think that a copy of this story should be sent to every member of the "Christian Coalition." Maybe a few of them would become Christian!
I can see like many people who have spent the time
to post a commment, I have been really touched by
by Bill's Story, I am a 21 year old bisexual
though never suffering any resentment my self, I
have known many who have suffered abuse,
it is good to know though that so many people
do care, and are willing to say so.
I was very touched by the story. It fits with many young gays that l have talked and worked with. I have written this thirty times now, and can't get out all the feelings that I want to express. But then I think you know them already.
My regards for the Family of Bill. And my most deepest respect for them also.
Thank you for sharing Bill's story and your own. I am a lesbian mother with 3 grown children - one of my kids works with the Gay & lesbian educators (gale bc) along with me to work for the kind of change that Bill longed for in his life. His story inspires us to keep on working alongside families such as yours and any other friends and allies out there. I'm so sorry for your tremendous loss. Keeping his memory alive may be the best healing.
thank you - I have tears in my eyes. I am a filmmaker working on two films - 1 for elementary and 1 for high school level - to try and help all ages understand homophobia and heterosexism. and the terrible damage it does to us all.
Very touching! Its hard to live in this
world that people have created! You sound like
a nice mother and I wish you strength!
Thanks for speaking out!
I am so sorry. Grieved. I stuck it out through suicide somehow. I wish my mother would read this but she won't. I am so thankful for people like you. I cannot compensate for the loss of Bill ( I feel it is my loss and the world's loss also), but what you are doing, telling the story does matter and does help. Thank you. How feeble a thank you sounds.
I found your site in The Web magazine and was moved to include a link to it in my web page along with other youth support links. I am sorry for your loss and am very moved by your family's story. I would like to help somehow for I am an abuse survivor and Lesbian myself. It is a cruel world we live in. If only I could do my part. I welcome any ideas that you may have. God bless and keep you. Peace.
Dear Clayton Family -
I discovered your son's tribute page throught soc.support.youth.gay-lesbian-bi, a usenet newsgroup designed to help questioning youth with their sexuality. I must say that I have never experienced directly any kind of physical bashing, but have seen it before, and I always have one eye open, no matter where I am. It is unfortunate that we live in a world, where anyone who is not a cookie-cutter image of the American Norm is threatened with violence derived from ignorance and passive acceptance. I am seventeen years old, and I wonder from day to day if gays and lesbians will ever enjoy a similar release from the hatred and the bigotry that surrounds us, the hatred and bigotry that blacks experienced for hundreds of years, and not until recently have been released.
All I can hope for is that every single one of us does our individual and collective part to fight the hate and make this world a better place for everyone.
My love and respect,
Mark Holding Raggio
My condolenses to you, your son seemed like a truly great man. I myself am 18, though i am young in age, i am mature in my heart and in my mind. I cannot say i know what it's like to lose someone that you love so much, but i do know is that youth suicide is a big issue that needs to be addressed more often, i know because i have tried to commit suicide. Fortunetly for my friends, they helped me get through it, i am forever in their debt.
After reading Bill's story, i was really touched by the way you support the rights of gays and lesbians, my deepest sympathies go out towards you and your family. Best of luck in the future.
I have "known" you, via the net and PFLAG-talk, (our email "chapter that meets every night") for a while now, but I have never taken the time to post here. As you know, Bill's story has broadened the web of friends that you and Alec and family have to support you, and I am touched by the special intersections of people that have occurred (like Dave Gantt, Steve S. and I, to name 3) because Bill's Story is linked to so many other pages.
I re-read all the guest books today, and Bill's Story as well, and I am convinced that he is still with us, urging, nudging, cajoling, shaming each of us to shed our fears, our ignorance, our hatred and to simply LOVE. His voice is so vital, so vibrant, so PRESENT that I still find it hard to believe that he is gone from our midst. I never had the pleasure of knowing Bill, but through the loving notes, letters, responses and of course Steve S, I feel a special closeness just the same.
There can never be anything that can take away the hurt, the torturous loss of one taken too soon, but how gratified you must feel to see this outpouring of support, love and kindness that his all-too-short life inspired.
You and Bill are touching the world Gabi, and again you have reached out to touch my heart as well. All the best to you, to Alec and Noel, and to Bill, whose reach extends beyond the bonds of life to touch those he has left behind to finish his journey toward acceptance.
I have many friends that are gay or bisexual, in fact, I only have two friends that are totally straight, in the town I live in, it is not very noticed or discriminated against, it is a small town and everyone knows everyone, I am very grateful to live in such an open town with little discrimination. I am sorry for what happened to Bill, he must have been a wonderful person, everyone I know who has read this has balled throughout it. It is very sad that he felt that death was the only salvation he had, but as a pagan, he believed in reincarnation, as a Wiccan, I do too, he is out there somewhere, and he will be blessed in his next life for his hardship. I am sure he is going to be very happy someday, hopefully in his new life he will be able to live in a town such as mine. He will be remembered by my friends forever, even though we never met him, we know how hard being different can be. I will always remember his story. Be strong, he is in good hands.
I was deeply moved by Bill's story.I am
a 42 year old gay man,who has just been brutally assaulted by four assailants inside a local gay bar.The owner refused to admit that it was a hate crime,in order to spare further investigation of his buisness.Meanwhile,visability in my left eye is severely limited and the hamstring muscle in my right leg may require surgery for removal of a bruise induced blood clot.This town is Lake Charles,Louisiana,and this is not the first time something like this has happened to me.I am quite physically fit and I am admired but lately more envied by the straght community here.Gay men are not supposed to be masculine and attractive in Lake Charles,LA.We are encouraged to be effeminate and unhealthy looking,and to defy that stereotype encourages even the wrath of a poorly educated gay communiy.The horrible truth of this recent icident is that 2 of the 4 assailants who beat me were gay.
Rodney P. Fontenot
Hi I'm from Australia. I'd just like to say that Bill seemed like a great guy. I really feel for him, and your family. Good Luck in the future
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I am a Gay Male. At 59 years of young age. Each time I hear of cases like Bills it makes me sick at my stomach. I try to think of things that I may do to help our younger people, like Bill. Please know that all of we older people are not Chicken Hawks, and do not prey on our younger, generally confused, people. My deepest sympathy to you and all of those that Bills Story has touched.
If I am able to help someone who is having this difficulty in their sexuallity, I would be most happy to assist in counceling them. I have to male children, and lived with the fear that my being Gay might rub off. It did not..
Which sometimes make me think that there is a Higher Power..Love and that Higher Power will get us all through..
My prayers are with you..
Leif-Eric von Voss III
Gabi Clayton's Home Page ~~~ More about "Bill's Story"