SBS 301 Cultural Diversity/Prof. Koptiuch         Fall 2009       Personal Memory Ethnographies

Ryan Sumayo

Acceptance of Difference

That late random Sunday night, when the guys and I brought Mel along to hang out and drink with us was actually when we figured out he was a queer. We were all in the car that was drenched with alcohol and felt really warm. Mel seemed pretty buzzed. Ron who was also in the car jokingly asked Mel a question saying, “Hey Mel, if you were gay which one of us would you find attractive, me or Luigi?”. “ know what? I actually do have this thing for John...” We all just laughed in hysteria but he interrupted saying, “No really...It’s the truth, but please don’t tell anyone else. I’m only telling you guys because I trust you. Do you think I have a chance at all of getting with John?”

In the car everyone stayed sadly quiet the rest of the way till we got dropped off. We changed the topic and we excluded Mel fromthe conversation every time he tried to talk with us. But inside I was trying so hard to stop myself from bursting out laughing! Mel is weird fat slob, and even if John was gay too it’s not like he would go for a guy like Mel. I think if a guy is going to be gay he should at least present himself with some class or be one of the gay guys that have cute girl friends. The only reason why I brought Mel along was for our amusement. That reminded me of the time when me and John and I got him to wear a dress which was one of the funniest moments of my life. When the other guys hear about this latest Mel story they are going to seriously be freaked out! But I had been thinking that Mel liked Ryan because he always tries to hang out with him. I should definitely give Ryan a heads up before he freaks out when Mel tells him himself. Who knows, he might actually like Ryan too. I called Ryan that night and told him the situation that he should watch out for Mel. Ryan laughed at the situation as well and told me they are going to workout at the gym the next day after class.

Mel and I just finished working out together at the gym in ASU West’s fitness center. I wasn’t very nervous around Mel because I already had a suspicion he was gay and I didn’t really mind. Outside it was a surprisingly nice sunny warm spring day outside as birds were chirping and rabbits passing by. As we were walking towards ASU West dorms Mel said he wanted to tell me something as he slowly walked and spoke with hesitation. This was my second year at ASU west and we had known each other since freshmen year. I always thought of Mel as a nice but socially awkward person who speaks with a slightly high pitch voice.

We were pretty good friends at the time. Both of us had the same interests in martial arts, anime, and we are both Filipino-American. Most of my other friends thought of Mel as kind of creepy or annoying because of how socially awkward he is. There were also times when my friends made fun of Mel behind his back without him knowing. As Mel and I are friends, it leads him to believe that he was also friends with my other friends too. But my other friends are nice people so they were friendly with him whenever they were around him, regardless. I didn’t really have a problem with Mel at the time because back in high school I used to also have a hard time trying to socialize with others. Back in my high school years I was very shy and hardly talked to anyone. So I could see how it’s difficult for him to cope with others.

Here was this nervous fat kid speaking softly and it seemed like it was hard for him to say what he wanted to say as he paused for a long moment to think. He said he was only telling me this because I was a good friend. I felt that I knew what he was going to say. I and my friends had suspicions he was gay from the day we met him because of the way he talks and his way around girls. When he did tell me that he was gay, I told him that it’s ok. The look on his face was a sign of relief. I think my feelings towards him were normal at the time. I felt a little weird that it’s official to say I have now a gay friend. This is something that will stay in my mind for a long time because this was something really private to him. But I didn’t want that to ruin our friendship just because of his difference. As each day passed, Mel eventually started telling my other friends that he was gay, believing that it would be ok with them too.

A few weeks passed and things became weirder. My friend Mel recently confessed his love for one of my friends, John. I was surprised that John didn’t really freak out as badly as I thought he would. He gave my friend a rejection that wasn’t anything that would hurt his feelings. He simply just told Mel that he wasn’t gay himself and that he had a girlfriend already at the time. As days passed since then, Mel constantly called John and still tried to ask him out on dates. John was beginning to get mad that Mel couldn’t take no for an answer. John was at this point where he couldn’t stand my gay friend’s presence and was uncomfortable to be around him or even see him. That was then until John called Mel a fat stupid fag. John was repeatedly irritated by this fat annoying kid. I was actually getting angry about the situation that Mel was trying to still ask out John because of his selfish annoying lust. It wasn’t right what Mel was doing to John because John wasn’t gay and Mel shouldn’t keep on trying, hoping John would have a change of heart somehow.

As Mel gave up on John he began having feelings for my other friends. At that point I thought it would be best if he and I talked about his situation. I told him he needed to stop this nonsense of trying to hit on guys who aren’t gay. I said to him that most of my friends are avoiding him even more because of what he was doing and that they don’t like it at all. There were times where I was even trying to avoid him too, but I didn’t tell him this. Mel felt embarrassed and seemed like he regretted what he had done. Ever since then, my friends and I kept on avoiding Mel at school, ignoring his phone calls more than ever. Mel started to hang out with other people who accepted him more or were more like him.

As of today, I still act friendly towards Mel but our friendship doesn’t feel the same. Whenever we try to hang out this is kind of awkward. I accept Mel for who he is but not for what kind of person he is that will try to harass my friends. I thought about times how gay people are not accepted because it’s not considered normal and there were times when gays were beaten or humiliated for being who they are. I tried doing the best I could to deal with my friend being gay and I felt bad that the others didn’t want to be around him at all. But I can’t accept the fact that he keeps trying to get with my guy friends.


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