What was your first impression of the gay community?
For Tom Wicker of Lewes in East Sussex in the United Kingdom, it was illness, death, and filth. Tom recalls an advertisement he saw when he was just five years old:
It was of a stormy, volcanic landscape with lightning in the background and an enormous tombstone, which, I later learned, had the word “AIDS” written on it. I think for the best part of the first 18 years of my life, that was what “gay” was. It was sadness and illness and death.
As a teenager Tom had an experience that furthered his negative perception of the gay community…
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“I’m from Driftwood,” a collection of “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer stories from all over the world,” appears weekends on LGBTQ Nation. For more true LGBT stories, or to share your own, visit “I’m from Driftwood.”