I’m From Grand Forks, ND.

by Joshua Schwab

Satellite overhead image of North Dakota from Google Earth 2022

I guess I always thought of my life as one long story. The first person to know I was gay was my grandma, and by first I mean she knew before me. For the most part I didn’t seem too different in childhood. I was more into academics. I read a lot, especially fantasy. I knew I was gay but I lived in a small town and was afraid of being teased or maybe beaten.

After I escaped the small town of Roseau, MN, I came out on Coming Out day. Anyone that wanted to know, I told them. My mom found out from my computer when she was visiting. I meant to tell her, but her boyfriend was there and he was a real macho man. On my computer I had my online journal stating I was going to come out of the closet to my mother today.

She called me later telling me she had car problems and they were stuck in town. I began to tell her and she said she already knew and will always love me. I guess I have been blessed with a lot of understanding friends and family.

My main worry is being single. I wouldn’t say I am a first pick, but I have personality and creativity to the max. I am overweight and in the little gay area I am in now, that is seen as bad. No chub-chasers around, just twinks and older dudes. I guess my main problem is that I love myself even in my body. I don’t see much reason to change as I am healthy.

I have tried to be a part of the local gay support club, but I have to work so much, and the gay people there are kind of in cliques. I even feel uncomfortable in the monthly drag show and dances. Most of the men around here have been really sheltered and when they came out they decided to be super gay.

For my future I am writing a gay fantasy novel. Its going really slow but I’m hoping to get some creative juices flowing. A lot of that comes from my leadership in my local gaming club that I co-created, “ORC: Official Role-playing Club.”

For real employment I have been blessed at a local pasta place. The owner is gay and so are a bunch of the staff. It has become one of the most comfortable working environments.

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