I’m From Santa Rosa, CA.

by Jordan Craig-Wood

State Satellite overhead image from Google Earth 2022

My story started in Santa Rosa, California. I grew up incredibly sheltered and lived in a perfect world created by my mother. After my father passed away when I was a baby, she made it her life goal to give my older brother and me an exceptional life. She did a great job doing so. I never knew what Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender even meant back then. I didn’t have the least bit of romantic interest. Until the fateful day I saw my first movie sex scene. I can’t remember the film’s name, or even how old I was at time, but I vividly remember not giving the woman in the sex scene the time of day. My eyes were glued to the muscular man rolling in the bed with a very undeserving female. I didn’t know I was gay, I didn’t know I liked guys. But looking back on it, I can easily say I was attracted to men since I was very young. My whole elementary school career was lived like this. Uneducated on the world around me, and unknowing that there was even a choice between marrying a female or marrying a male.

When I was 11 years old I moved from Northern California to Las Vegas. Oh boy, I was in for the biggest surprise of my life. Sin City held nothing back from me. I recall a time when two girls made fun of me for not knowing what a short bus was. I was so innocent, and in all honesty, these pre-teen students were not innocent at all. They weren’t even 13 years old, yet half of them already were having sex on a regular basis and getting drunk on the weekends. It was not long before I was corrupted by my peers in Las Vegas. When I gained the knowledge of the LGBT Community I was really excited. I did not hesitate on throwing females to the side so I could get me some man action. But my older brother did not hesitate to jump on the “White Supremacy” and/or “Anti-Anything that isn’t straight, white, and has the same ideals as them” band wagon. I came out to school within days of learning about my sexuality, only to be greeted by the same kind of people my brother was slowly becoming.

I never came out to my family in middle school. I was so excited at first, but then reality stepped in. I never knew this side of people. I couldn’t grasp why people would instantly hate another without even knowing one thing about the person they are. Hate fueled because they  love someone of the same gender, or because they have a different skin color. These people truly disgusted me, and I really felt I couldn’t beat them. Looking back I feel weak for not standing up for myself, for all I could do was enter back into the wondrous closet so many of us have grown to hate. I got so depressed, suicide really seemed like such a logical answer. I felt it could be my way out of the torment and assault I got everyday. I would go to school and get treated like shit, then come home and had to completely hide who I was to my family.

When I was 14 I moved to Dayton, NV. A small, conservative, close-minded town that wasn’t even on the map when I moved there. As you can imagine, it was very hard at first for me to fit in. I was, and still am to a lesser degree, afraid to really let anyone get to know me. I had lived so strictly on hiding who I was, I began to lose myself. Then I met Logan. While he had caught my attention beforehand a few times, he really made a mark on me at the Dayton High School Bonfire my freshman year. He started to, interior motives or not, inquire about my sexuality. But not in a negative stand point, which was new to me. He had said something along the lines as “So are you Gay? Bi?” but he said it so, kindly. I immediately responded “No, I like girls.” Which led to him say “Oh cool, I’m Bi.” And like that, I was smitten by the likes of Logan Tice.

My freshman and sophomore years had a lot of arguing involved. Logan and I at more than one point hated each other. Well I never hated him, I was so infatuated with him I hated myself for him hating me. But thankfully each time I messed up our friendship he would forgive me, which probably saved me in the end. I looked up to Logan as a role model. He was out, and confident. I wanted to be like him so much.

I dated a few guys from other schools. But still couldn’t hold myself to coming out to the public. I would tell a friend, then that friend would tell the school and lose my trust completely. Then I would have to repair my name and then repeat. I went from straight, to bi, to gay, to bi, to I don’t know, to straight… It was ridiculous. Finally my sophomore year going into junior year summer I had enough. So I posted a rather angry Myspace bulletin stating that I was indeed gay, and if anyone had an issue with that I would do something along the lines of  hurting them… Again not the most emotionally stable, but it was so liberating.

Soon after my mother sprouted some horrible news on me. I was to be moving to Long Beach in a few weeks. I didn’t know what to think. I was section leader in the school band, I had great friends, and finally open about myself to my peers. Not my household yet, but at least school became an escape. My life had just about fallen apart. But I tried to keep my head high, and figured “Hey, California is like the gayest place in America. I can still live the life I want.”

Long Beach was so welcoming to me, but I was never really out. I was half out, that might be a hard concept to grasp but just go along with it. I was a huge performing arts junky. But in LBC the school I had attended, Millikan High School, had a very separated performing arts program built up at the time. The choir kids and the band geeks never really talked to one another. I think I was the only on who did both band and choir. Choir friends I had knew I liked guys, but band friends thought I was straight. Band almost immediately adopted me into their family, and made me feel so welcome. I had made friends quickly and easily became afraid to tell them because I wanted them to stay friends.

Before I was there long, one of the band kids took it upon himself to go onto Myspace and read comments I had posted on Logan’s page. Now, I didn’t really know this guy. I felt like I wanted to be straight, but I couldn’t fake it. He quickly outed me to the band, and I quickly tried to repair. I remember when I found out, in the midst of dance rehearsal for The Sound of Music, I broke down crying. I remember just asking myself over and over “Why would this happen to me?” My friend Renee was there comforting me, and it was because of her I didn’t do anything irrational. Instead I just kept living my life. I didn’t come out to the bandies, but they knew. As the musical proceeded I had a couple flings with a few guys. Definitely came to terms with my sexuality. Let me tell you, if I didn‘t know the male body before then, I surely did after. As school was about to end my Mother moved the family back to Dayton.

I was happy I got to see my old friends, but I was devastated that once I finally felt comfortable with myself and was in such a pro-gay area I had to leave back to this little conservative, hell hole. But hey one man’s garbage can is another man’s castle. I tried to make the best out of it. At least Logan was still there! But not for long, he graduated, which almost brought me to tears.

I didn’t get messed with much my senior year over my sexuality, that or I sub-consciously learned how to zone them out. With a few other LGBT kids poppin’ up on campus the kids learned to live with tolerance, and I almost feel blessed I got to see that change in a community firsthand. Towards the end of my senior year I heard the snazzy remark, “Jordan has been in and out of the closet more than a broom handle.” from my friend. Apparently it was said by someone at school. I tried to laugh it off, but I was so disgusted with myself. I couldn’t help but feel like a coward. I was sick and tired of hiding myself. For years I mislead my family. I was just done with it.

A month or so before I graduated I came out to my family. My younger sister is about the only positive reaction I got from them. Eventually they all came around and today they are really supportive. I masked my complete personality simply because I feared some parts of who I am would point out that I was gay. But in reality being gay does not define me.

To this day Logan and I still talk as friends. Any possible romance between us died out. In time that infatuation turned into respect. Now I can honestly say I wish him the best in life. I owe him so much simply for being that example to look up to. He doesn’t even know this but he helped me through the roughest time of my life to date.

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