snowdusk · "Twenty One" - A Coming Out Story

As I was doing my usual afternoon walking exercise last Monday, I suddenly thought of creating a “mix tape” of songs I was listening to in the mid-90’s. I think this was triggered by a track that I included in my latest DJ Kyoko Time mix tape – a song called “Haunted By You” by Gene. This track brought so much memories from my personal struggle in the mid-90’s.

The mid-90’s was probably the most turbulent time of my life as I was in the process of coming out of the closet. It was also the time when I have finally accepted my true sexuality - of being gay, of being attracted to the same sex - and realizing that there was no reason to hide it. This realization came when I met a guy named David who was in my Intermediate French class at the University of Toronto. I knew he was straight but we became good friends. I have developed a huge crush on him and never told him. The semester finished and still did not tell him until we just drifted apart from one another. I became extremely sad.

I then met another guy named Aaron at work who I started having a huge crush on. He was definitely gay – I also never told him about my feelings for him. He eventually left the company and we lost touch. Again, I was crushed. I think at this point, I realized I could be suffering from depression.

At first I did not understand why I had feelings for men. I did not fully understand what being gay was then. I was very confused. So I had this thought of why continue living if I could not express my feelings to people I was attracted to and suffer as a result. I was so depressed to the point of being suicidal. At that point I sought help. I called the Kids Helpline. I then saw a psychologist at the university who recommended I joined a gay youth group. This was the 90’s. The understanding and acceptance of the LGBTQ2S+ back then was different compared to now. Also, I was living in the suburbs and had no knowledge that there was a thriving LGBT community in downtown Toronto. The Internet was very young back then so there was not a lot of resources around. The gay youth group was the very first place I met other young people experiencing the same struggle I was having. I met my first gay circle of friends there - Dien, Andrew and Daniel… that’s when everything changed – definitely for the good. I never looked back.

These 21 tracks tell of my story of struggle during those troubled times – a mix of self-examination, unspoken love, self-anger, self-destruction, and temporary happiness. Why 21? I was 21 when I have decided to end it all… I guess we all know now what happened since I am still here blogging away, making mixes, etc, now in my 40’s.

I know… depressing, isn’t it?

I still hope you enjoy this mix.


00:00 The Cranberries - Twenty One
03:07 Rose Chronicles - Dwelling
07:50 Cub - Tomorrow Go Away
11:03 The Posies - When Mute Tongues Can Speak
14:30 Nirvana - Verse Chorus Verse
17:52 The Martinis - Free
22:11 Eric’s Trip - Sunlight
25:28 Mazzy Star - Fade Into You
30:08 Gene - Haunted By You
33:40 Morrissey - The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get
37:20 The Lemonheads - Frank Mills
38:59 Smoking Popes - Need You Around
42:40 10,000 Maniacs - These Are Days
46:13 R.E.M. - Bang And Blame
50:56 Matthew Sweet - Don’t Go
54:08 Gin Blossoms - Until I Fall Away
57:52 The Jayhawks - Blue
1:00:56 Treble Charger - Red
1:05:19 Barbara Manning and The San Francisco Seals - Joed Out
1:09:11 Blur - To The End
1:13:05 The Sundays - Here’s Where The Story Ends