Reflections on growing up goth and gay in Texas at the dawn of the 1990s—based on the author’s one-man show.
As a gay teenager in Texas, writer and performer Crabb suffered the abuse of having his head smashed with encyclopedias and enduring hate speeches from his classmates. By the time he entered high school, the author’s denial of his sexuality was tested when he began listening to George Michael’s “Faith” and was introduced to Interview magazine, with its glossy, artful spreads of male models. Suddenly, the message that seemingly everyone else around him had received made sense to Crabb, yet he persisted in repressing his feelings, despite his first crush on the mysterious new student named Greg. To make matters more confusing, he came of age at the height of the AIDS epidemic and hysteria, when “you couldn’t watch MTV for more than ten minutes without hearing about AIDS.” Crabb’s gradual sexual awakening and comfort with his own identity coincided with his friendship with Greg, who also admitted to being gay. Together, the two acclimated themselves to the “freak” crowd, circulating in the teen club scene around San Antonio and excessive experimentation with drugs and alcohol. Their friendship forms the backbone of Crabb’s narrative, as each relied on the other to help understand his identity in the face of intolerance and violence. Though the author’s story wonderfully captures the awkwardness, strife, and even terror of his experience as a gay teen, it is also upbeat, endearing, and achingly funny. (The mall-rat generation will be especially at home with Crabb.) The author experienced all the highs and lows of adolescence, from the reckless pleasures of youth to the inevitable distance and loneliness of outgrowing relationships.
A vivid and dramatic slice of adolescence.