News - January 1996

R.I. students speak out for gay rights at forum

PROVIDENCE -- Gay teenagers recently gathered at a conference and made a request: treat us like anybody else.

Tired of taunts, harassments and fists, nearly three dozen teen-agers and adults testified for more than three hours recently at a forum sponsored by the Rhode Island Task Force on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth, a panel of students, parents and educators.

According to the Associated press, Michael Segee, 17, of Providence, said he dropped out of Burrillville High School earlier this year because he was tired of being harassed.

Maryellen Scott, 17, of Pawtucket, a senior at Tolman High School, said some of her teachers rejected her when she told them she was gay last year.

"I came out to gain respect for myself, to say I will no longer be ashamed of myself," she said. "And in turn I receive ignorance and hatred."

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