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Seth

November 2000

HOMOSEXUALITY IN SCHOOLS??

I have been out for three and a half years now and each year it seems I end up in two different schools. I guess it's my calling to open everyone's minds. I came out in Salt Lake City, Utah, which to a lot of people is brave...really brave because everyone thinks that it is an ultra-conservative state...well it is and it isn't. It all depends on who you run into. In my case, I ran into some of the bigots of Utah and some of the open hearts also.

The first school I attended the year I came out I wasn't out to totally. Well, it wasn't on the top of my priorities. I had family just now finding out...they were who I was concerned with letting know. Not really caring if they accepted it or not. Plus the school was in the middle of SLC so I was a little frightened. I ended up moving to a suburb a week after mother's day that year and the next year I started the new school, at which I was not caring if anyone knew. I came out to a few people and it was around school that same day. I was kind of relieved that the reaction wasn't as horrible as I had figured. All the girls that found out that I knew were totally cool and the girls that I did not know got to know me and there were actually quite a few guys that were totally cool with it and were like, "If anyone messes with you let us know."

I was feeling pretty good. I got involved in the SLC GLBT youth group and I ended up being selected to be one of nine gay youth to go to the Governor's mansion to meet with him and discuss how it is for Gay youth in SLC's community (not including how it was in the gay community). I had to be out of school for a day so I let my teachers know where I was going to be and so students found out and the support that I got from the students was amazing. There were those students that were like "faggot you're going to die" and stuff but I ignored them due to the support that I had and that they were the minority. I was on top of the world at that school.

Come that December my family got news that we had to move home to TEXAS due to a job opp. for my mom. It was in Amarillo which at the time I was upset due to the fact that I was having to leave the school that I was at, and leave the gay community that I had gotten involved in, and the friends that I had grown close to within that gay community. We moved and it was quite sad. I had expected Amarillo to be somewhat the same but we ended up living outside Amarillo about 10 or so miles in an area called Highland Park.

I started Highland Park High and I was in the 9th grade. It was a small school with about 900 k-12. It didn't take long for girls to get interested in "the new guy" and the guys starting rumors that I was gay. Me not showing equal interest in any of the girls put evidence toward the rumor that I was gay and everyone assumed it and a few I admitted it to. It got to where there were whispers in the halls and a lot of crap said to my face and threats of harm towards me. I let the counselor know what was happening and also the Vice Principal. The counselor told me that she didn't think that it was a good Idea that I came to her anymore due to her bias of gays.

The vice-principal, also the football coach, said that he would take care of it and he called in the football players that he knew were involved and told them to cut it out. No discipline whatsoever for the actions that had been done. Due to that, the guys came to my house on a day that I was home alone and stated, "Come out faggot and we will take care of all of this. We aren't going to have a faggot at our school and we'll kill ya if we have to." That incident caused me to get hold of an organization, which I am currently a field rep. for, by the name of OUTstanding Amarillo Org., though which I got a hold of the local FBI station and I met with Tim (last name suppressed).

Tim got the Amarillo Police involved and the Potter County Sheriff's Department also involved and they talked with the asst. principal and stated that they were going to be corresponding with him on the status of stuff and they would like if he would get it taken care of so they wouldn't have to take any further action. He then called me in and told me that he would take care of it and that I was to notify him if anything else were to happen.

A few days after that, my mom's vehicle, in which I had driven around, was vandalized in my driveway and so there was another police report done and I went to the principal of the school. I told the principal what had been going on and he told me that if I chose to live that lifestyle then I would have to carry the baggage of it and that they could only protect me on school property and that if anything happened off school grounds it would be on my hands.

I was outraged at this and told my mom and told my organization and I requested to speak with the superintendent, who my mom knew some how from a time when he had worked somewhere near her hometown. Well, instead of the school getting him to come out and speak with me, they sent out the school district's "special services director" out to talk to me about it. I told her what had happened and she had basically told me that I needed to deny my sexuality.

The next day, the counselor pulled me out of class and she apologized for what she had said and told me that she hoped that I had not been offended or anything and that she would be of any service she could be. To me and my mom, it wasn't good enough; I didn't feel safe in that school. We decided to enroll me into a school called Redbud Academy.

Me and my mom went down to the Superintendent's office and checked me out of school and demanded action so that there wouldn't be another case like mine. The superintendent let us know that evaluations were coming up and the principal and such would be taken care of. I've come to find out the principal was asked to step down or be fired and he quit. The vice principal left also and the counselor was asked to leave. I hope that the administration now is a lot better on cases like mine because I know I'm not the last gay boy in that school.

I left Amarillo and now live in Lubbock, Texas. I attended Monterey High School the first semester of last year and was totally out and the administration was very backing of my rights and my safety. The district police dept. was very supportive also. In fact, the police officer that was assigned to my school was gay (interesting, huh?). I left Monterey and moved to Levelland to finish out the year and the word spread fast like that of Highland Park, but a lot better response came from the students. There were already a few out people there and some out the year before. I dated a guy from that school...all the guys I had dated before I didn't go to school with.

I decided that with the gay population of the school we should start a GSA (gay /straight alliance) I had some support but the principal denied me the right to do so. He stated that he would consider it if I came to him at the beginning of this year with a sponsor and a charter. I figured I would get it all taken care of this summer and go in and get it in at the start of this year.

Well, I ended up moving back to Lubbock and I currently attend Coronado High School. Coronado is not a school that many would ever consider coming out in. It is another planet. I'm not telling anyone but no one has asked so, so far so good. I know that there are rumors around school due to a guy that is friends with a guy that I once dated. It hasn't been confirmed yet so I don't know what's going to happen. I know of a lot of gay and lesbian students at Coronado but I'm not there enough to really worry about getting to know them or risking the exposure by talking to them at school. Every year there are tons of gay, bisexual and lesbian students that realize their sexuality and hide it. I promote not hiding it. I'm not saying you have to scream it to the world, but I don't think that it is right to lie about who you are. There are some situations I understand but I don't think there is reason to lie about who you are...be who you are and show the world how special and diverse GOD made you. CELEBRATE YOUR DIVERSITY!

For those of you that would like to send correspondence about any of my submissions you can e-mail me @ POLO2783@aol.com POLO2783@home.com

Take care all!!!!

Seth


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