Silent No More This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
“Is he gay?”
"I think so.”
“Yeah, I'm pretty sure.”
“Ask him.”
“Hey, are you–”

The last period bell cut off the cacophony of fresh gossip. My ears burned with embarrassment, and I walked away as quickly as possible, feeling clunky and awkward. There had always been rumors about my sexual orientation, but the painfully straightforward questions made me cringe. I tried to shrug off the girls' malice as ignorance, but I became preoccupied with thought. My blood rose with anger as I heard their laughter in the background. Inhibitions blinded, I rashly shouted, “Some people are so rude!”

“You f-----t!”

“Wow! I haven't heard that before. You have to be the wittiest people I've encountered.”

This would have been a perfect response if I had said it aloud. In reality, as a shy, easily embarrassed freshman, I had yet to stand up for myself, let alone defend my sexual orientation. I wanted to tell someone what had happened, but I was too embarrassed by the situation. I had experienced gay jokes and “playful” comments before, but the hateful word those girls had used felt like a knife in my chest. A myriad of insecurity, second-guessing, and self-denial ­silenced me.

After weeks of agonizing and hiding the secret, I promised myself that I would never be silenced again. Gradually, I came out to my closest friends, then my sister, and finally my parents. With their support, I grew more comfortable, and I saw changes in my disposition. My face no longer reddened at the mention of homosexuality, and instead of slouching away from intrusive questions, I proudly proclaimed, “Yes, I am gay.”

It is difficult for me to pinpoint the moment of my epiphany, but as I gained confidence, I was finally able to face the ignorance and homophobia in my school. I spoke up with authority, and people began to listen and respect me. They recognized that I was not weak because of my sexual orientation and that I would not degrade myself with silence.

I became a leader in my school, and during sophomore year, I joined the Gay-Straight Alliance. My participation has helped me accept myself and forgive those girls and the others who have hurt me with their ignorance.

Hate is unproductive. I've learned that I cannot hold grudges or become bitter toward people who try to hurt me; their hate comes from misinformation and ignorance. My experiences have helped me to better understand homophobic people and to see the good in many of them.

My trials have been a blessing in disguise. Though I was knocked down, I built myself back up with clear goals and responsibilities. I now have two objectives: to provide a safe community for gay students, and to educate those who harass us.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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BecomingCameron00 said...
today at 1:41 pm
i can relate to this so much because i am Transgender and i am known as the tranny kid at my school an it sucks because i am so used to bullying, but its only my second week of school
 
bo_olsenThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Apr. 13 at 12:47 pm
I can relate to bullying about my sexuality, because I recently came out as gender fluid, and people are always throwing gender specific pronouns at me, although I am not brave enough to say that my hardships have been a blessing, because they haven't to me. I am a coward of sorts, and surprised at myself for even coming out at all. Cheers to you!
 
BecomingCameron00 replied...
today at 2:01 pm
when i came out as transgender everyone sees me as some freak of nature an i don't have the guts to stand up to the bullies an i get the gender rolls thrown at me as well
 
eshaansomanThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Mar. 24 at 2:12 pm
good story, w/ classic ending! check out my work too if you have a chance!
 
hailey011001 said...
Jan. 31 at 3:28 pm
You are very brave, many others wouldn't have your courage. Keep strong, I am so glad you have gotten to the point of acceptance. :)
 
ramosfreddy said...
Dec. 8, 2016 at 1:41 pm
pretty cool that you are able to do all this. love this story.
 
GeriskHer said...
Dec. 8, 2016 at 1:30 pm
pretty cool that you're able to do all of this. not a lot of people that i know of, would have been able to done what you have done.
 
PersonMan said...
Nov. 7, 2016 at 5:08 pm
Perfect reaction. Honestly, who cares what they think of you? The people that truly are your friends are those who can accept such facts. I mean, what's wrong with homosexuality? Maybe I'm saying this because I'm bisexual, but still. It's really not that big of a deal, and if people make it, screw them! There are other people.
 
NinjaEmily said...
Oct. 10, 2016 at 4:22 pm
I wish people could be strong like this. Sure it takes awhile, but we all need to be strong
 
H3LLBORN said...
Sept. 19, 2016 at 2:02 pm
Whatever comes, just face it. It will be fine for its ur life and its u who is living it.Stand up for what u feel is right for u.
 
therealwithpurposeThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Aug. 16, 2016 at 3:44 am
im not belong from an lgbt group but i am bullied due to my physical appearance and now i felt motivated and i will do my deeds to be a better one like you :)
 
Peanutgirl99 said...
Apr. 20, 2016 at 2:01 pm
This is extremely powerful. Good job
 
gio2656 said...
Apr. 13, 2016 at 2:41 pm
this really hit home.
 
BVBChick122298 said...
Apr. 3, 2016 at 12:42 pm
This was so good! I feel like people are afraid of the unknown and that's why they bully. Bullying isn't right. We need to end bullying before it ends someone else. We have too many people in this world who are too afraid to be openly gay because of the ignorant people. I fully support people who are gay because they are who they are and it's not my job to change that. My job is to stand by their side and to be their friend.
 
Goteeem said...
Apr. 1, 2016 at 2:59 pm
I don't think bullying people is right. Is not okay to bully someone just because you are insecure of yourself
 
Paty said...
Apr. 1, 2016 at 9:47 am
I feel bad with this kid!
 
Brendan1530 said...
Mar. 30, 2016 at 1:36 pm
congratulations on coming out. that must have taken a lot of courage, especially after how those girls treated you!
 
dylllllllll said...
Mar. 30, 2016 at 1:34 pm
good job
 
kalienichoel said...
Feb. 19, 2016 at 8:33 am
Your ability to overcome makes me happy.
 
Fiestygirl24 said...
Feb. 19, 2016 at 8:17 am
This is a really good story. Courage is a thing a lot of people lack. Keep writing.
 
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