Back to School

by Brandon Lacy
September 1996

As August rolls to an end, and September begins, millions of children, teenagers, and young adults will be returning to school, and with them will be returning a multitude of hopes, dreams, and fears.

The beginning of this school year, though, carries with it a special and new hope. A hope that if homophobia can not be ended in schools and college's across the countries, it can be at least fought on a legal ground. With the decision in favor of Jamie Nabozny, the Ashland, Wisconsin student -- and recent resident of my home town, Minneapolis -- gay and lesbian students now have the right to sue their schools if they do not take appropriate action to stop homophobic attacks.

The implications of this decision on a legal scale are being delved into by legal scholars across the country, but the true research should be done into how this will effect young gays and lesbians in their efforts to come out.

Coming out seems to be the number one thing that gay and lesbians can do to tell the world that we are everywhere, in every society, in every station of life. As more and more students come out, the longer the school societies, and society in general will have to get used to, tolerate, and finally accept that homosexuality is a natural part of the world.

August and September are special months for me. This September marks the one year anniversary of my coming out. Since my coming out last year I have not only thrown wide the doors of my personal closet, but I have been able, through example, to help others come out of their personal closets. I have been able to finally openly fight the number one thing that I hate, ignorance.

My coming out has been smooth sailing for the most part, until recently, and that story can be found in the August edition of Oasis, under the coming out section. I have found a strength in myself that I did not know I possessed. I have had a 110% turn around in my self-esteem, and in my feeling of self-worth. Coming out has been the single greatest thing that has happened in my life. If only it could have happened earlier.

It's true, each and every year men and women are coming out at an earlier and earlier age, and as legislation favoring equal status for gays and lesbians piles up, there may come a time when the necessity for coming out may vanish. But legislation will never be enough. It takes a change in attitudes, and a change in the way people think, to make coming out unnecessary. And it will take effort from both sides of the gay/straight line.

We need to support each other, our straight allies, and our gay friends. We need to understand and recognize that we can not demand acceptance, but we do not have to accept plain tolerance. We need to understand that we are all human, gay and straight. As bad as it is for the straight majority to deny us basic rights as citizens of the United States, i.e. DOMA, so is it equally reprehensible for us to turn on ourselves, such as the outing of Rep. Kolbe (R-AZ), by the gay media. (A note here, I do not agree with his voting in favor of DOMA, but I do disagree with the outing, and at the same time I am pleased that there is another member of Congress who is out, and able to work visibly for our cause, human rights.)

So, on this one year anniversary of my coming out, I look toward school and classes, with renewed hope and fervor, and the dream that one day there will be liberty and justice for all.

Brandon Lacy is a sophomore at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC. He is a native of Minneapolis, MN, and lives there when not chained to the rigors of academia. Brandon is a Human Studies/Political Science double major, and plans to pursue an advance dual degree of a juris doctorate and Ph.D. in Political Sociology. As a hobby he writes prose and poetry. He also chairs the Warren Wilson College Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender/Straight Alliance (GLBSTA). He also maintains an online resource for gay and lesbians in their search for help and resources in coming out, that can be found at http://www.warren-wilson.edu/~wlacy.
©1996 Oasis Magazine. All Rights Reserved.