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Posting on a youth site feels more than a little odd. Not because of any age issue- at 19, most people would still consider me a youth I suppose. But I haven’t though of myself as a ‘youth’ for a while. Emotionally, I feel rather old, actually. And tired sometimes.

I’m attracted mainly to boys ranging from just before puberty to mid adolescence, and I’m not really too bothered about why. I don’t see many ‘straight’ people trying to overanalyze why they feel the way they do. It also seems rather obvious that nobody out there has the answer to ‘why?’ for any of us. That’s not to say there are no opinionated people who mistake their morals for facts, but sexuality in general isn’t all that well understood by science. And what did we have before science told us better? We had sun and moon gods and a flat Earth.

I first started to worry I was ‘more than just gay’ at around age 15. I’d always liked boys, and I’d messed around with other boys (and even one or two girls) from when I was still young enough to share baths with a cousin of mine. That carried on until the beginning of puberty.

Around age 11 was the time I remember the other kids beginning to worry about looking ‘gay’, and it seemed like most had lost their desire to fool around. That was also around the time that the feelings I had began to grow deeper than just the desire to mess around- I found that I was having quite serious crushes on age-mate boys. I feel confident saying I was actually in love a couple of times, although I was always too shy to risk being humiliated by telling anyone how I felt.

Things carried on this way until I began to get increasingly more worried that I still thought the 11 and 12 year old kids in school were beautiful, whereas kids my own age, the older looking ones, didn’t really do anything for me at all. It was immensely unsettling as most who find themselves in a similar situation can attest to. It seems ridiculous now looking back, but I genuinely was terrified that I was turning into a pervert.

The method I chose to cope with what I was going through wasn’t exactly a good choice. In fact, that's probably a strong candidate for ‘understatement of the millennium’. Being on the internet it wasn’t long before I had found a way to download pictures of the age and sex that interested me. The fact that what I was looking at was nothing like the vile crap you read about in the media, or the fact that at that time I was myself at the high end of that same age group, doesn’t matter in the eyes of the law.

If I knew half of what I know today about how the internet worked I wouldn’t have gone anywhere near anything that could have got me arrested. But as it happened, I just thought I had stumbled across the perfect solution to the problem I was facing. I could be a pervert, but only ever in the privacy of my bedroom and nobody would even know. I could bury this part of me yet still indulge it, if you will. It’s a miracle I got away with it for as long as I did.

It doesn’t matter all that much if you’re a genuine pervert or a confused kid once you’re actually caught. I was incredibly lucky not to go to prison. Although, I will still have a criminal record for the rest of my life that, unless there are drastic changes in society, is nothing less than a tag that says ‘sicko’.

I could write a lot more about getting into trouble, how the police treated me, how the courts treated me, how the people who lived on my street treated me after seeing what was going on (the police aren’t exactly discrete when they come to get you), how the people at probation treated me, how my parents reacted to having the police turn up so early in the morning it was still dark, and so on. But suffice to say I got through it.

What I got out of it all was an opportunity to stop avoiding dealing with a part of myself that I was scared of and to confront it. To look at the way I was being treated and know that it wasn’t right, and have it spelled out to me that it wasn’t just genuinely horrid people that were being treated like filth on account of their sexuality. To realise that it wasn’t dirty pictures that were stopping me from becoming a monster, it was the fact that I was a decent human being devoid of the desire to hurt anyone.

I genuinely don’t know if I ever would have found the balls to confront myself had I not been dragged through the system. One thing I’m sure of now though is that I simply would never want to go back to doubting my own worth as a person, even if they offered to wipe my record clean. I’m fine how I am thanks, there’s nothing about me that’s inherently wrong.

If hating me for no good reason makes people somehow feel better about themselves then they can go ahead, but it must be a pretty scary world they live in, with monsters like me everywhere stalking their kids. I’d be on the floor laughing if so many beautiful people weren’t being hurt.

Since then I’ve moved away from where I lived at the time (with my parents, they stuck with me- that is an important detail that deserves mentioning). I now have other problems to deal with. Problems of the malignant, cancerous variety. What I’ve gone through over the last few years would be more than enough to break many people. But through it all, I’ve somehow managed to become as comfortable with myself as I ever have been at any time since puberty!

- Edward

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