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Out October: “Truth Is, I Was Contemplating Suicide.”



Today’s Out October Project story comes from Phil Reese, writer and contributor for The Bilerico Project and writer for Ameriqueer, who explains that sometimes it isn’t an actual physical bully pushing you over the edge. Sometimes it is you and your own thoughts that torture and torment.

Missed our other coming out stories? Catch up here!

I was never, exactly, an angst-ridden teen growing up. It might be more dramatic to claim I was some brooding introvert before I made good with myself and turned into this sloshing bucket of sunshine that ‘stands’ before you today. However, truth-be-told, I’ve always been the picture next to “Happy-Go-Lucky” in Webster’s New American. Nature over nurture.

When I was growing up someone was really awful, mean and cruel to me, used to torture me, fill me with a sense of doom and shame. It wasn’t mom. Mom could be shrill sometimes, and we fought almost constantly, but it was only because she wanted the best for me, and she could be abrasive and tactless, so when the two clashed with my short Mediterranean temper that I inherited from her (that seemed to ONLY be set off with her, for some reason), it was like throwing an ice cube in a deep-fryer. Things bubbled over quick, and it got very loud.

It wasn’t dad. Dad’s where I got happy-go-lucky from. I always just sort of imagined the inside of my dad’s head must have been a lot like The Yellow Submarine 24/7; only interrupted by my mom and I bickering.

Not my little sister. She worshiped me (still sorta does).

The jerk who secretly made my life a living hell was me. I was a popular kid–Student Government, Homecoming Court, football, baseball (not to mention fencing)–I had a great family, and I had few conflicts with people. However, for a lot of LGBT kids, the bully may not be external. I was one of those.

When I was only in Junior High, I saw a 20/20 special about a doctor in New York who claimed to be able to change queer people to being straight. They showed this guy with a wife and kids who claimed he’d be full-on gaygaygay just a few years before. I wanted that. When my parents were at work one day, I called information and got the Doctor’s phone number. I called his office, hoping he could tell me what I could do, but when his receptionist answered, I freaked out and hung up. I saved his number and planned to try again someday. I’m glad I didn’t.

October of my Junior year, my guidance counselor called my parents to tell them I was on suicide watch. Happy-go-lucky Phil–Sunshine, as some teachers called me–had been writing some really dark stuff, and some friends found it in his locker, and promptly took it to the office out of fear.

Truth is, I was contemplating suicide. I’d been thinking about it for years, and no one knew. I came out my Sophomore year of High School in Catholic School to the biggest “So What” in history. Though my friends had all accepted me, I still hadn’t.

See, I was out, but I didn’t really know any other out gay people. When I’d come out, the only friends that did reject me were those ones who had been in the closet with me. When I threw open those closet doors, they feared being implicated by association. I got shunned. So though everyone loved me, I felt sort of like an island, much like Kurt on Glee. Being the ‘Token,’ is sort of a burden iself.

That year, though, I began staying after school and just chatting with the only openly gay teacher in our school, Mr. Z. Mr. Z told me about coming out and leaving his monestary, being viciously attacked when hired on as Religion teacher at Father Gabriel Richard High School, and staying above the fray and being true to yourself. He helped me reconcile my Catholic upbringing with my realization that despite years and years of frantic tearful prayer, I wasn’t going to be able to change myself. I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

That summer, I met my next gay mentor–my gay ‘big brother,’ Christopher. Christopher gave me my first literature on being a gay youth–the original 1 in 10 Teenagers, and some other books about famous gays in history, how to have safe sex, what to do when your family finds out, and where to go to find more people like you.

I also found the internet that year. AOL chat became a huge escape and relief for me. I was even able to do research on the gay-friendliness of my potential colleges, and the existence of any LGBT programming there.

I choose to go to college at Central Michigan University. I got a job in the hall I lived in, I joined the community council, I wrote for the newspaper, and I got involved in the LGBT community. By October I had a huge group of accepting and affirming friends–straight and gay–that helped me dismantle those demons, one by one. By the time I left, I’d made a name for myself nationally for my local LGBT leadership, had become a well-known leader of the local LGBT community, and helped guide hundreds of LGBT youngsters to a stronger, healthier sense of self.

Now, October means a lot to me. It’s not just a celebration of LGBT history, its a celebration of my own history, and coming out of the pain and suffering of self-inflicted violence and hatred to an awesome place of love and affirmation. Use this October to start building your October love this year. Embrace all those awesome things about yourself, all your awesome talents and qualities, and fall in love with yourself and your journey.

Remember, there are always options.
The Trevor Project: a 24-hour hotline for gay and questioning youth: 866-4-U-TREVOR (488-7386)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)

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Trump Appears to Think Jeb Bush Was President: ‘He Got Us Into the Middle East’



During a rally in South Carolina on Monday, Donald Trump appeared to confuse former Florida GOP Governor Jeb Bush with his brother, former President George W. Bush, while bragging to supporters how he beat him.

Jeb Bush, who was largely considered to be the default Republican Party nominee for the 2016 presidential election when he launched his campaign, dropped out in February of 2016 after the South Carolina primary.

“When I come here, everyone thought Bush was going to win,” Trump said, before claiming he was “up by about 50 points” over Bush. “They thought Bush because Bush was supposedly a military person.”

“You know what he was…He got us into the Middle East,” Trump claimed, wrongly. “How did that work out?”

READ MORE: ‘Isn’t Glock a Good Gun?’ Trump Asks Before Saying He Is Buying One – Campaign Forced to Deny He Did

“But they also thought that Bush might win. Jeb. Remember Jeb? He used the word ‘Jeb,’ he didn’t use the word ‘Bush,’ I said, ‘You mean he’s ashamed of the last name?’ and then they immediately started using the name Bush,” Trump claimed.

The ex-president went on to continue denigrating Jeb Bush, accusing him of bringing his mother to campaign with him.

“Remember,” Trump said, “he brought his mother, his wonderful mother who’s 94 years old and it was pouring and they’re wheeling her around and it’s raining and horrible. I said, ‘Who would do that your mother, 94 years old. How desperate are you to win?”

Media Matters’ Craig Harrington, commenting on Trump’s latest gaffe, observed: “In the past two weeks, Donald Trump has:

– Warned that Joe Biden might start ‘World War 2’
– Confused his 2016 election opponent (Hillary Clinton) with former President Barack Obama
– Confused his 2016 primary opponent (Jeb Bush) with former President George W. Bush.”

Watch the video below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Careening’ Toward ‘Risk of Political Violence’: Experts Sound Alarm After Trump Floats Executing His Former General

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Fulton County Judge in Trump Case Orders Jurors’ Identities and Images Must Be Protected



The Fulton County Superior Court judge presiding over Georgia’s RICO, conspiracy, and election interference case against Donald Trump on Monday afternoon ordered the identities and images of all jurors and prospective jurors to remain secret, ordering they may only be referred to by a number.

“No person shall videotape, photograph, draw in a realistic or otherwise identifiable manner, or otherwise record images, statements, or conversations of jurors/prospective jurors in any manner” that would violate a Superior Court rule, Judge Scott McAfee ordered, “except that the jury foreperson’s announcement of the verdict or questions to the judge may be audio recorded.”

“Jurors or prospective jurors shall be identified by number only in court filings or in open court,” he added.

READ MORE: ‘Careening’ Toward ‘Risk of Political Violence’: Experts Sound Alarm After Trump Floats Executing His Former General

Judge McAfee also ordered no juror’s or prospective juror’s identity, “including names, addresses, telephone numbers, or identifying employment information” may be revealed.

MSNBC’s Katie Phang posted the order, and added: “Another important part of the Order: no responses from juror questionnaires or notes about jury selection shall be disclosed, unless permitted by the Court.”

Judge McAfee’s order comes after Donald Trump’s weekend of attacks on his former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley. Trump strongly suggested he should be executed for treason. Trump also strongly suggested he would target Comcast, NBC News, and MSNBC if he wins the 2024 presidential election.

Responding to the news, MSNBC’s Medhi Hasan observed, “We have just normalized the fact that the former president, and GOP presidential frontrunner, is basically a mob boss.”


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‘Isn’t Glock a Good Gun?’ Trump Asks Before Saying He Is Buying One – Campaign Forced to Deny He Did



During a photo shoot at a South Carolina gun shop, Donald Trump posed with and then said he wanted to buy a Glock, asking if it is “a good gun.”

Some say it might be illegal to sell a gun to anyone under criminal indictment, and if he took the gun with him that too might be illegal. It was not clear if, despite saying he would, he actually bought the firearm. The Trump campaign initially said he had, although later backtracked on its claim, and deleted the social media post saying he had.

In the photo op (video below,) Trump posed with several people, including the Republican Attorney General of South Carolina, Alan Wilson, who has held that elected position since 2011.

“Trump’s spokesman announced that Trump bought a Glock today in South Carolina. He even posted video,” wrote former Chicago Tribune editor Mark Jacob. “If Trump took the gun with him, that’s a federal crime since he’s under indictment. There’s also a law against selling a gun to someone under federal indictment like Trump.”

READ MORE: ‘Poof’: White House Mocks Stunned Fox News Host as GOP’s Impeachment Case Evaporates on Live Air

Reuters’ crime and justice reporter Brad Heath posted the federal laws that might apply, as well as Trump’s campaign spokesperson’s clip of the ex-president’s remarks, and his spokesperson saying, “President Trump purchases a @GLOCKInc in South Carolina!”

CNN analyst Stephen Gutowski, who writes about gun policy, added, “It would be a crime for him to actually buy this gun because he’s under felony indictment. Did he actually go through with this purchase?”

“People under felony indictments can’t ‘receive’ new firearms. That also means you can’t buy them,” he also wrote.

MSNBC anchor and legal contributor Katie Phang wrote, “I don’t know if he actually bought the gun. At least it didn’t happen in this video. Also, the Attorney General of South Carolina is in this video. Is he watching Trump commit a crime?”

But some pointed to a federal judge in Texas’ ruling from last year. Reuters reported, a “federal law prohibiting people under felony indictment from buying firearms is unconstitutional.”

Watch the video below or at this link.



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