I graduated from a typical middle-class high school in suburbia USA in 1984, with a class of about 475 or so. I 'felt like' I was the only gay guy in the entire class during graduation ceremonies. I remember now how clearly I felt so alone. I secretly wanted to tell everyone I was gay as I was handed my scrap of paper, a fake diploma, from the principal as the photographer took our picture in my cap and gown and the audience cheered on. But I couldn't do that, as it was intended to be a dignified, formal setting, so I sat quietly. I'm not sure where I read it, but a little later on, I was shocked and surprised to learn that on average there was about 1 in 10 additional gay guys in my class alone. That would put about 25 - more or less - additional gay guys in there also! So where the fuck were they? I had no clue who they were, everyone seemed so 'normal'. To this day, I still don't know who they are. But, nevertheless, I grew up, older and wiser, at least a little bit, I think. I still do feel lonely and alone though. Always have, in a way.
Flash forward to ten years ago when I got my first computer and the internet. I was amazed to learn how much closer we ALL are, despite out differences and distances. I've seen a million websites and probably at least as many site users too. Yes the net can be a really cool thing as it turned out. Personally, I'm relatively new here but I feel very comfortable here and I've met a lot of new friends here. RJ is cool.
Now, about a year ago, I met a very nice, kind, good looking young man, now just 18, through the internet. I'm in Michigan, him in California. He's always known he's gay from a very early age. He's been very openly out for a number of years. He's always had a computer and the internet and to him, he's never not known about it. To him, he always used it and and it's always been there. He knows about websites and everything else. He knows other gay guys from school, as well as a lot of curious or questioning ones too. He played football for three years in high school. He has a lot of great friends, straight, gay, questioning, whatever. He thinks he's completely normal, except that he's also gay. I think he's a very brave and courageous guy.
I believe the internet had a HUGE impact on life today versus life 20 years ago. And this is a classic example.