Well well well.. doesn't that sound conceited? Hehe.. that's not really my intention. Though I'm not trying to sound conceited, this article IS about me. I hope by writing this I can inspire some of you to be happy with your sexuality, and maybe come out of the closet.
Anyway, moving right along... my name is Jeff, I'm 16 years old, living in Chatham, Ontario, Canada. I'm the typical 16 year old. Part-time job, school the rest of the time, and during free time I hang out with my friends. There's really not much to do in a small town like this, and absolutely nothing gay-youth oriented.
Don't get me wrong, there ARE big cities and stuff around where I live that have support groups, one of them was 1 in 10, which was in Windsor every Thursday. It was funded and run by people from the AIDS committee of Windsor. I've stopped going to that group for a while now, mainly because they've put an 18 and younger age limit on the group, and I have no source of transportation or anything to actually GET to Windsor to go to the group that I love so much. I occasionally see friends that I had made when they come through this closeted little town, but rarely. I've lost a lot of friends that I had in grade 9 due to coming out.
Don't get me wrong. I didn't have an overly BAD experience coming out, but I have to say that I could have thought about it some more before I decided to share my sexual preferences with the world. It was back in grade 9 tech class, I was working with some electronics for a racer thingy majigy I was making. It was really gonna kick butt, and I was looking forward to racing it against the other kids' racers. I had been quietly working on my own when someone came up to me and jokingly asked:
"Hey Jeff... are you GAY?!?!"
I looked up and him and I knew that he was joking and just trying to be the center of attention. None the less, I just said:
"Yeah, why do you ask?"
At this point he was stunned and didn't know what to say, and everyone in the class stared at me. I pity my teacher, because he didn't have a clue on how to deal with a kid coming out in his class, especially at the 'young' age of 15.
After that day, I guess you could say that word about my sexuality spread like wildfire. People would stare at me, mutter things, throw things, etc as I would walk by. At first, I couldn't deal with it. I used to get home off the bus at night and cry myself to sleep. All of grade 9 was like this, and I missed a lot of dances, the semi-formal and a bunch of activities because of the way that people treated me. I couldn't believe that they could live with how they treated people that were slightly different than them. It was like I had some disease, and no one wanted to be around me...
I'm not trying to portray coming out as a bad thing here, but it is something that you have to think about and be comfortable with before you decide to share it. I wish that I would have thought a little more about how people around me were going to react, but at the time, I really hadn't cared. I was so amazingly sick of lying when all the 'guys' talked about their girlfriends and how hot they were, and all this other stuff that I just didn't feel towards girls.
One day, I had gone into the boys washroom at my school. Two big tall guys decided that it would be great fun to 'kick the faggot's ass'. I was scared, and when they lunged at me, I ran from the bathroom realizing that this wasn't 'turf' that I could invade upon. Leaving school that evening, as I was getting on the bus, some little punk was whispering about me, and throwing snow and insulting me in any way he could.
I had had just about enough. The next day, I scheduled an appointment with the vice principal at my school, and I told him that this was MY learning environment, my parents paid taxes to keep me in school, and that I should feel safe and secure in my learning environment. I got a positive reaction from the man when originally had thought he was going to give me a hard time. He pulled the student down from class and gave him a warning. He also gave me access to the staff washrooms.
Since then, I haven't experienced and problems or discrimination from anyone at my school with the exception of a couple of BASIC students, though they call everything 'gay'. I realize now that I should have taken a stand earlier, and that NO ONE has the right to treat anyone badly because they are different. This doesn't apply just for sexual orientation, but for different skin colors, nationality, or religion. Everyone should be treated fairly.
I never use the staff washrooms at my school because I don't feel I should be treated better than anyone else. All I want is fairness, and that's what I'm still fighting for. While the administration of schools can do A LOT, they can't stop all prejudice. I still get the odd comment, but while at school, I have to say that I appreciate what the management of the school have done for me.
Anyway, I'm getting wayyyy off track here... all I'm trying to say is that YOU can be YOURSELF ANYWHERE, and you shouldn't have to fear how people are going to treat you. If you're being treated unfairly, talk to administration of your school, they're there for you.
Anyway... ta-ta for now... homework calls
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