Running – Running – Running Away


During his high school years, he was like most teens who grew up in small towns, he wanted to move away and pursue a dream far from the confines of a small community. He had a burning desire to get as far away from that town and as soon as he could –  he couldn’t get out fast enough. He wanted to shake the haunting memories and the life that he thought he should have had, but hadn’t had. He wanted out so badly he hadn’t considered where he was running too, just as long as he wasn’t in the shadow of that town.

When the time came, he was gone!

He didn’t look back as he passed the city limits – he didn’t even think twice. He was free at last. But as the months and years passed, he still couldn’t separate himself from his past. He traveled further and further away, yet, he couldn’t get far enough away. He kept running, running away from a past that he didn’t want to claim as his own.

For ten years he ran and was still no further from the past than when he started. Finally giving up, he realized that no matter where he traveled, the past would always be there, stalking and haunting him.

Less than one year ago, I began to write a novel OUTED BY ANGER. Angrily I wrote about a young boy coming out in a small rural Oklahoma town during the 70’s. Hate, bullying, prejudice were the key words in a politically charged theme attacking the establishment. Just this past week, I re-read the first six chapters of the incomplete rough draft. In my reading I was stunned that I was perpetuating the very theme that I was taking a stand against: HATE.

I stepped back and re-examined the very story that has been in my head since I was in high school, now the beginning of a manuscript – a manuscript that turned my stomach. This is not the way I had intended to tell this story.

I began at the very beginning of the manuscript and started editing the story. Instead of a narration from the hindsight perspective of an angry man, I turned the voice into that of a confused and naive teen boy. Through the eyes of a teen boy, the story unfolds. My hateful and angry prose were replaced with compassion and sympathy for a boy on a journey through his internal confusion and insecurities. A story of navigation along a rough road of discovery into small town politics and religious prejudice. A tale of a boy with only one objective – to escape the town as soon as he could.

That boy was me.

As I write this story which parallels my own high school experiences, I’m coming face-to-face with my past, the very past I’ve spent my entire life running from. Yet I’m sensing that in writing this tale, it might possibly explain what has eluded me for so very long. What exactly was I running from? Or was I running toward a destination which I had failed to define? A story which began as a coming-of-age story about a young teen boy, may very well become a journey of revelation for the man who is writing it.

Book Teaser Vid for: OUTED BY ANGER


An unusual, coming of age story. Shane, a teen, in 1970’s Oklahoma, is outed by a small town political machine, the very powers-that-be who want to keep him in the closet. Eventually, Shane comes to terms with the fact that he is the first openly gay high school student in his hometown. Bursting out of the closet, he literally blows the doors off of small-town politics, setting into motion a series of events that could cost him more than just his desire to graduate. Unaware that his uphill battle for self preservation is paving the way to even greater challenges that lie ahead.

Along Shane’s turbulent journey of self-discovery, an ambiguous Kable, the high school football quarterback, unexpectedly shows up during Shane’s most trying times. Is this coincidental? Unable to discern if Kable is a friend, a lover, or an adversary, is there something about Kable he is unaware?

A story loosley based on the author’s own coming out.

For more info, visit: http://OutedByAnger.dustinadrianrhodes.com

Confused in the Gay Community


Recently while surfing websites, I encountered, what I initially thought was a typo, but I soon discovered I was incorrect. Being an OUT gay male since, well, let’s just say, a very long time, I’ve been called a “sissy”, “fag”, “queer”, “homo” along with a long string of other derogatory and degrading names. Being a member (in-good-standing) of the gay community, what exactly do I call myself? Well, the initials GLBT came into play, an initialism for: Gay Lesbian Bi-sexual Transgender. So, for a number of years I was content  being a GLBT person. Then, along came the addition of the letter “Q”. WTF?

Okay, so the gay community is embracing those individuals who consider themselves as either “Queer” or “Questioning”. That makes perfect sense, after all, the gay community is an all inclusive community of those who do not fit the traditional heterosexual profile. But when I encountered LGBTQ, I was more than a bit confused, was this a typo or had my community changed it’s initials? Had I missed the memo? I checked my junk email and found nothing there. Maybe my email address needed to be updated so I wouldn’t  miss getting important gay community memos. I am sure my GAY CARD has not expired.

My quest began, to discover what is LGBT? Beginning in Google Search,  I was bombarded with an entire page of links relating to LGBT. WOW! Studying each link, I found Wikipedia had the best explanation for the foreign letters in question:

LGBT (or GLBT) is an initialism used since the 1990’s as a self-designation by what was formerly known as the “gay community”. It refers collectively to “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender” people. In use since the 1990’s, the term “LGBT” is an adaptation of the initialism “LGB”, which itself started replacing the phrase “gay community” beginning in the mid-to-late 1980’s, which many within the community in question felt did not accurately represent all those to whom it referred.

The term LGBT is intended to emphasize a diversity of “sexuality and gender identity-based cultures” and is sometimes used to refer to anyone who is non-heterosexual instead of exclusively to people who are homosexual, bisexual, or transgender. To recognize this inclusion, a popular variant adds the letter Q for those who identify as queer and questioning their sexual identity (e.g., “LGBTQ” or “GLBTQ”, recorded since 1996).  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT

 From now on, I promise to be more diligent in monitoring my email, I don’t wish to miss those important memos. Note to the Gay Community Board of Directors: Please tag future email correspondence as IMPORTANT, so to get my attention and I will not be left in the dark.  Thank you.

“It Gets Better” (Broadway sings for the Trevor Project)


IT GETS BETTER Project

The Trevor Project

Homo, Queer, Oh My!


It’s Tuesday morning around 10 AM when I boarded the commuter bus, I’m on my way to do my weekly grocery shopping. I have ridden public transportation for more than 20 years. Yes, I can drive, but I prefer to not be behind the wheel of a car, especially in the crazy Austin traffic. The commute to the grocer takes less than ten minutes, so it’s no major ordeal.

Plunking my 8 quarters into the machine, I retrieved my Day Pass which allowed me to ride most public transit buses for 24 hours for no additional toll. I moved into the bus, when I am surprised by the passengers, they actually cleared a pathway for me so that I could move further into the bus and possibly claim a seat on the full bus. I couldn’t understand why the passengers were acting as if I were a leaper. I had showered, wearing clean clothes, had brushed my teeth and rinsed with mouth wash. Had I applied deodorant? I thought to myself, yes! And, I had even splashed on some cologne. Then it dawned on me. It was my heather gray t-shirt I was wearing that was causing the strange reaction and questionable stares.

Never had I seen discrimination or homophobia of that level on Austin public transportation like I was experiencing at that very moment. That particular bus was mixed with students, young Hispanic mothers and I would be safe to guess that at least one-fourth of the young men on that bus were either gay or bi-sexual. Mind you, Austin is a very “open” and accepting city, that’s one of it’s many excellent qualities. But, I was shocked to feel the tension that weighed on that particular bus ride. I live in the Southeastern part of the city, more commonly referred to as “Apartment City”, since the majority of this area of town is comprised of apartments and condos. A lot of college kids live in this part of town and I can safely say, by browsing Craig’s List Men-4-Men Personals that there are probably more gay’s living this part of town than anywhere else in Austin. So, why the homophobia???

I guess, from now on, I will be more selective where I wear my t-shirt, with a simple logo blazed across the chest: I KISS BOYS!