Junior High School for me as it was for many a time in my life that I was changing and at a very rapid pace. Puberty was hitting me and I kind of understood what was happening to me and as far as a mental state of mind I felt like a girl. I knew anatomically I was a boy but mentally I was a girl. I didn’t like to be addressed as a boy. I always hung out with the girls. Wherever they were was I.
I went through the usual angst of the popular boys teasing me but that didn’t last too long. I was pretty liked. I was in the popular crowd, the IT kids. I dressed what they use to call back then Punk Rock which was very colorful with a mix of Emo. I was extremely feminine. I did go to my classes and by this time my A.D.H.D which was not still diagnosed was in full gear. Little did I know that this would draw attention to a particular Guidance Counselor by the name Mrs. Santarpia.
Mrs. Santarpia was a thin, light skinned, straight haired woman. She dressed very conservative which was the fashion back then. She called me to her office during math class. As usual I got very nervous and scared. By this time I knew that if I was getting into trouble my mother was going to beat me an inch of my life. This was something that I was very scared of. My mother’s beatings were getting more and more vicious.
Writing this takes me back. I was such a lost child. I was scared of my mother in the worst way. Being told to go to see the guidance counselor immediately gave me anxiety. The things running through my mind had me sweating by the time I walked into her office. Mrs. Santarpia always spoke in a soft voice. She waited till I sat down. She looked at me for a few seconds which felt like minutes. She commenced to tell me that she needs my mother to come up. That they needed to speak to her in person and that it had to do with me and the furthering of my education. I started to cry. I didn’t understand what she was saying. My tears were from imagining the beating I was going to receive the minute I told my mother that she had to go up to school. You see my mother hated missing any day from work. It was a big inconvenience and it put her in a very bad mood. After she tried to comfort me and gave me a little moment to get myself together I was sent back to class. The rest of the day I kept thinking on how to tell my mother without getting my butt whooped.
Eventually I told mom because she had to come up the next day. The following day they called me in to the office early. My mother was there and Mrs. Santarpia told me to leave the office and to stay outside. They would call me when the conversation was done. My mother didn’t speak English but she definitely understood every word you said. I can’t recall how long they were in the office but I can tell you that it ended with my mother raising her voice a bit.
My mother came out of the office giving Mrs. Santarpia a couple of “fuck you” some drawn out “bitch” and marched right out. Mommy told me she would see me at home and not to worry. That night when mom came home from work I overheard the conversation she had with the guidance counselor. She was talking to my step-father while they were having a cup of coffee. It seems like they wanted to put me in special education because I was too feminine. It was not good to the other kids in my class and if they put me in a behavior modification class maybe it can be controlled. My mother told her that I had good grades, which I did. Mom said that me being feminine had nothing to do with this. That I was going to grow out of it and there was no way they were going to put me in Special Ed because I wasn’t crazy or slow. At the time they couldn’t change your class unless your mother gave them the OK to do so. She wasn’t signing any papers. The guidance counselor didn’t know what to do with herself after that visit from my mother. as a matter of fact Ms. Santarpia never brought it up to me and she also never called me to her office ever. The talk of me of me being feminine was never a subject to my education.
I know that at the time it wasn’t a big deal but it was sad that a teacher or guidance counselor won’t see past my femininity. It was a fact that back then being gay was fixable. When I got older I found out that at the time homosexuality was found to be a mental disease and she was trying to put me in Special Education class because it was a mental disease I had for being a feminine boy and she wanted to cure me. Many teachers, psychiatrists and counselors felt that with some therapy you can fix an individual from being gay. The fact that you were born gay was something that just did not exist and absolutely didn’t make sense. It didn’t make a difference if you were intelligent or creative. If you was gay or feminine it was looked down upon.
No less I didn’t go to Special Ed and graduated on time.