Ever since I can remember, I’ve been bisexual. I knew I liked a girl the way I liked boys in first grade but I didn’t really understand what that was at the time. Over the years I learned and because of the town I was in, I was too afraid to come out to anyone but my closest friends.
I come from a town that consists of 2000 people and a lot of churches. I’m a southern Baptist and never really got why people said if someone was homosexual that they were going to hell. In the bible it says that it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you believe in Jesus as God’s only son and believe in what he did for us all then you are saved.
As the years went by I became more and more comfortable with coming out. I had met a girl that was also bisexual and I fell in love with her. We just couldn’t be together because we knew that even though some people would be okay with it, the majority wouldn’t and her parents would never let us see each other again.
One day, at my school, two girls who were known lesbians got caught making out. It caused such a stir that some people tried to start a movement. One guy started making and putting up posters telling gays to get out of the school and a lot of people who I grew up with tried to start a petition to get homosexuals and bisexuals moved to a different building. I was so torn up about it that I was scared to go to school for a while. I couldn’t believe that people had started acting that way. People I grew up and were close to started hating me and I lost a lot of friends because of my sexual preference.
I’ve been lucky enough to be accepted by my family but I know that there are many others who have to go through what I went through. I participated openly in the National Day of Silence and was kicked out of my church because of it. I’m ready for change. I lost someone I loved, was scared of my school, lost friends, and I was judged by those who teach tolerance.
I identify as a gender-neutral homoromantic asexual, so attending an all-girls Catholic high school isn’t always easy. Even though I’m not exactly “out” in my school, I still hear plenty of heterosexist comments, especially in my Theology class. I am constantly taught that sex between two people of the same sex is a sin that violates the Sixth Commandment, and that same-sex marriage cannot be considered a true marriage because two people of the same sex cannot conceive children together.
Sometimes, I hear my fellow classmates refer to something stupid as “gay” and talk about non-heterosexual people in an insulting way. I also see plenty of heterosexist attitudes, especially in the school rules. My school does not have any kind of Gay Straight Alliance or queer support group, and the faculty will not allow anyone to make one. My school faculty will also not allow students to take a same-sex date to any dance that requires a date.
I hope someday that my school will become more of a safe space for queer students like me.
For a long time I have not been able to accept myself or my own sexual orientation. I started to like girls when I was 7 years old, I didnt realize it then at the time. My first girlfriend was in the 6th grade. When others found out about me they judged and treated me terribly. We broke up becuase of this. From then on I would keep my thoughts and feelings about the same sex to myself.
In the 8th grade I fell in love with my best friend. We dated but she didnt want anyone to know because she knew her family wouldn’t be accepting. We unfortunatley didn’t last. I dated another friend of mine and she came out. At times I have identified myself as bisexual. Then at other times I’m not sure anymore.
My family on my Mom’s side isn’t accepting. My Mom is bisexual, though and she understands. Today I am accepting of myself. I know I can’t please everyone and I can’t choose the way I feel. I tried to believe I didn’t like girls but I know I do. Things get better. I have learned to accept myself and love myself. This is why I Give A Damn.
My name is Yanina and I am bisexual. I would have never said this in my high school and it took the trust and appreciation of my friends in college to be able to say it now. I am not a fearful person. I was not afraid of what people would do to me or if I would lose friends. If I lost them then they weren’t my real friends. I was president of the new gay-straight allaince and I always showed my open support for the gay community but i never said one word. I even had a secret girlfriend in high school. It was all rather ridiculous.
But now I realize that it wasn’t fear that kept me quiet, it was shame. Everyone cares what people will think of them and I was not special. It wasn’t friends I cared about, just random, unimportant, snickering, judgemental people. I was so ashamed of the legacy I would leave behind at this high school that I let it become something that wasn’t me at all.
I am still in my coming out phase. Really I’m in a very clean and clear glass closet. If anyone asks me I tell them the truth but I don’t go announcing it. I am co-president of the gay-straight alliance in my college and I’m just a freshman.
I hope I can inspire people to get over themseleves and realize what truly is important in their lives. I have a great family, open friends and a beautiful future ahead of me and I am not letting fear or shame keep me down.
My name is Derek and I have lived in South Carolina my whole life. I always knew that I was gay. People never seemed to notice though until high school. Thats when me being gay became a problem. Suddenly the whole school was talking about me. People were chasing me down hallways yelling things about me. I couldn’t walk through the courtyard without groups of boys shouting “faggot” or various names they had created in their free time. I could not bare walking down the hallways everyday and have everyone staring at me and whispering about me. I even started hiding in the bathroom during lunch period just to get away from it all. It felt like I didn’t have a friend in the whole world. I was secluded and it made me feel like something was wrong with me.
I moved away my junior year to another state and was able to graduate early the very next semester so no one at that school knew anything about me. After high school I “came out” and now I am comfortable in my own skin yet the phychological damage from high school has been hard to recover from. I look forward to a day where you can be different and enjoy going to school or work and doing all kinds of things without people alienating you. I give a damn.
I grew up in a small town in Idaho, The residents are farmers and small business owners. Most are members of the Church of Latter Day Saints, like their parents before them they were born and raised there. Starting in about 3rd grade people began calling me gay, and saying that I acted like a girl. Acting the only way I knew how, things got progressively worse.
Middle School was especially bad. I buried my emotions behind thick walls in my mind. It got to the point where I basically stopped talking, I never rose my hand in class, and was mortified when called on. Basically I feared sounding too gay. Those were the worst years of my life.
Moving into high school I started coming out of my shell but was still called out on being gay almost everyday. Two years into my high school career, I transferred to a private school. It was there where I was very close with my teacher Leslie. She was from a big city, and ruled with an iron fist, but never with me. She noticed I was pretty guarded, and didn’t really open up as much.
I talked to her like she was my therapist and opened up about my feelings. She affirmed me that its okay to be who you are and what you feel. She involved the whole class in “Group Time” to break down all the walls between her and her students. She brought subjects up like homosexuality and other political things, which are usually banned or frowned upon by most school systems. She was an amazing woman and I learned SO much from her.
That same year I came out to her and my best friend. The private school I attended was still affiliated with my old high school and I was still able to participate in theater and some of the elective classes. Going to that school I was fearless and didn’t care what other people thought. It was my life and people needed to get over it or get out.
I am now 3 years out of high school and am proud of the things I have accomplished and places I have been. This is my story. I hope you find something useful.
Leslie, If you are reading this, you are the most influential person I have ever met. I will always be grateful for you and the things that you have taught me.
At the age of 11 I came out to my parents as a gay male. At the time I was in middle school. Guam is a small island and territory of The United States. You would think that a small island would stir up minor trouble, but the reality was much different. I was teased and taunted. I had many friends, but it was too much for me to expect them to understand my situation. Knowing I chose to live this lifestyle I made a vow to stay strong.
Moving on to high school, I discovered my true meaning in life. At age sixteen I proudly announced myself as a transgendered woman. This was an even harder experience. I was not only going out of a comfort zone, but a gender zone. Yet again I was teased and taunted, but remembering my vow, I stood up for myself. I made a statement in everything I did. I showed straight people that I was someone fun and entertaining. I took the taunts and taunted myself to show them I was secure about my decisions. I grew into a leader. I turned into someone others could talk to. I was the girl who made it okay to wear high heels to school. I fought against my administrators. I studied my rights. And if needed, I caused scenes to protect the future lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.
You can imagine being sixteen and going up against full grown adults, who refuse to follow the school’s mission statement to “protect and honor its students.” Because of my determination to fight every battle that I saw was an opportunity to make a statement, I sought help. I finally met The Untouchables House of Diosa, which is a local group of performing Transgender Women and Drag Queens who guided me through this journey. Because of my ambition and their help I am able to now say that I loved high school. I loved the battles for equality. And most importantly I love myself.
The usual high school dilemma.
It’s hard enough being a teenager as is, yet struggling with sexuality the entirety of high school really compounds it. Only now, in first year of university can I really look back on the happenings with a clear frame of mind.
Long story short- too all those in high school- it gets easier- embrace your sexuality- it certainly made it easier for me to cope.
I started my senior year with a bucket list of sorts – a concrete series of conversations and experiences I knew I wanted to have before my graduation. Though the list sprawled across boundaries and classifications, with items ranging from acting in a performing arts production to decking myself out in school colors and attending at least one game for each varsity team to finally completing an “Extreme Sudoku” puzzle successfully, one hugely important item didn’t make the cut: coming out at school.
Though, by the start of the year, I had grown comfortable enough with my gay identity to come out to a couple dozen friends, teachers, and family members, I hadn’t yet found the courage to tell the vast majority of people in my life. In early October, I had a conversation with one of my best friends during which I boldly asserted that I would not come out before my graduation.
Just a few days after that conversation, though, the words “no dykes” appeared in Sharpie on the walls of several student bathrooms on campus; this initial instance of graffiti was promptly reported, removed, and addressed by the school principal. Though I was happy to hear the situation addressed seriously, I simultaneously felt deeply violated and betrayed by my school community – a group of people who perceived me as straight and who, therefore, treated me as any other concerned straight student rather than as the personally affected gay student I really was.
Frustrated by my inability to speak from within the infamous closet and by the mostly passive reactions of other students around me, I felt strongly that I needed to speak up and to draw more serious attention to the graffiti and, more broadly, to the school’s largely hidden gay community: I needed to come out.
I initially considered doing so by ceasing to treat my sexual orientation as a secret and, in so doing, letting the information spread on its own. As I considered this method, I realized that it would limit my ability to address individual people; the knowledge would reach others in locker rooms and bathrooms, English classes and advisory meetings – places where it would be treated as just another bit of gossip. So, instead of letting news of my sexuality trickle out on its own, I decided to address it publicly, by speaking from behind a podium in front of all the students and faculty in my school.
Though, while writing my speech, I was highly emotionally invested in the situation, I avoided language with echoes of anger and disappointment, opting, instead, to talk much like I would in individual, face-to-face conversations; I used colloquial language, bits of humor, and all the heart I could possibly put into words – all to convince people that the homophobic graffiti was more relevant to their lives than at first they might have believed. At the end of the speech, I was shocked by the unanimous standing applause and seemingly never-ending series of hugs. In the subsequent days and weeks, people detailed, via myriad forms of communication, the ways in which they were affected by my speech: some members of the community chose to come out to me, others told me about their same-sex parents or gay siblings, while still others simply told me that they were touched by the passion I felt for my rights and feelings as a gay student.
In the short-term, I was moved by the reactions of peers and teachers; those responses assured me that my decision to publicly come out was not a mistake. Beyond that immediate gratification, though, I realized that, in coming out, I had brought myself closer to being honest about my identity – both to myself and also to others. Though I know that I am not simply defined by my sexuality, I also realize that a huge part of my developing identity stems from the experiences being gay has brought me; these difficult conversations and tricky personal decisions have, in part, resulted in my fervent desire to change peoples’ perceptions of minority groups, starting in my family and at my school and extending, someday, to the greater world around me.
Both telling people that I’m gay and also convincing them of the importance held by their reactions to intolerance are more rewarding experiences than I could possibly convey on any piece of paper. For the distinct opportunity to be me, as wholly and completely as I can be at this point in my life, I am filled with both gratitude and also motivation. I finally feel as if I’m successfully working toward the notion always instilled in me by my parents and succinctly expressed by Henry David Thoreau – “be not simply good; be good for something.” In speaking up for myself and for an all too often quiet and unseen group of people, I have begun a lifelong movement toward something new, something better; I know now that I can make changes by openly being myself, and that I truly WILL be good for something.
I am not Gay, I am not young, I am a Christian, AND I GIVE A DAMN!
I just wanted to let the young ones know that there are many of us who do understand the tourture that high school can be for anyone who is “different”. I am not gay, but I was bullied to the point of suicide because I was different.
I just wanted to let all the kids out there know that there are those of us who understand, those of us you may not think would understand, and would be there for you without question. It WILL get better!. I look back at the bullies in my life and now see that they are the losers. Take your power and be the amazing human beings you are. REACH OUT! We are here for you. We love you.
Get informed and get involved. Register to join the campaign and let us know you give a damn about equality.
Spread the word about equality. Watch our damn videos and share them with the people in your life!play
Share your story with us and the people in your life. Tell us why you give a damn about equality!play
Hatred. Derision. Insults. Threats. Harassment. Assault. It’s estimated nearly 90% of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth have been verbally or physically harassed or assaulted at school.