Diversity Rules Magazine

February 2018

Diversity Rules Magazine - _lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning_

Issue link: http://www.ifoldsflip.com/i/935169

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Page 2 of 23

3 Diversity Rules Magazine February 2018 Tarringo T. Vaughan always believed he had a love af- fair with literature. One of the first pictures he saw of himself was of him at maybe the age of three or four year's old sitting with a book in his hand. But for Tarringo, growing up in the depths of the inner city both in Boston, MA and Springfield, MA made him believe that expression through the literary voice was un-cool and unattainable. As a very quiet and shy child he learned it became very valuable in his self expres- sion ey all seemed so strange. Northampton, Massachusetts wasn't a place I've ever heard of before until I went to college in a nearby small town of Amherst. It was close to where I lived but yet so far away as far as atmosphere goes. My first travels to this town had me looking around at all the difference and feel a fear; a fear that I was a part of that differ- ence and at that time in my life I wasn't ready to embrace it or even acknowledge it. ere were tree huggers and Goths, friendly musicians on sidewalk curbs translating the music of life and there were men holding hands with other men and woman embracing the open arms of other women and all I could tell myself was that I wasn't ready for that kind of exposure. But college life did change me as far as opening a mind that was stuck in its own ways. I was around people of many views and backgrounds and people on the voyage of exploration. e overall experience helped me realize there was something in- side of me needing to get out. And I went through five years of college developing friendships and emotional bonds that began to con- fuse me. I started to wonder why I had the type of closeness to male figures that seemed a little too close. I developed jealousies that I couldn't control because I was experiencing crushes on these other male figures that held me in a shame and ultimately shaped me into pretending to be someone I thought I was. And what really triggered this inner conflict I started to have was the way I had to force those same feelings to the op- posite gender. ere were girls I had much in com- mon with until it came to any hint of physical contact which resulted in an instant injection of discomfort. e confusion turned into a curiosity which started to turn into real feelings and I couldn't fight any longer. It was time to pay attention to what my heart was tell- ing me. One weekend afternoon I decided to go home for the day. I took a bus to Northampton and waited for a connecting bus that would take me to the next town before getting back home. I always felt awk- ward there and with this strong feelings swirling around within me, I felt like I was in a place that was going to expose me to the world. ere were more people parading around town than usual. Rainbow flags hung in the front of storefronts and people lined the street. I wasn't quite sure as to what was going on but I remember telling myself not to make eye contact. ere was an extra laugher in the air as smiles shined and a sense of love seemed to orbit around everyone within the organized crowds. And then as I sat at the bus stop I started to hear the music and the crowd cheer. Hands were waving and more rainbow flags Northhampton - Con't on page 6 A Wrong Turn in Northhampton Diary Of A Black Man By Tarringo Basile-Baughn

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