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

December 22, 2007
“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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This article has 99 comments. Post your own now!

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.
prettymystic said...
Feb. 11, 2016 at 12:20 pm
You're amazing, keep writing
CianaB said...
Jan. 27, 2016 at 4:53 pm
I wish I everyone had the courage to stand up for themselves. This is well written and I admire you. KEEP WRITING!!!!!
RatherNotSay said...
Nov. 21, 2015 at 1:38 pm
Beautiful. If everyone had even an ounce of the courage you have, the world would be a lot brighter. You're amazing, keep writing. Peace.
Thefanatasticagirlie101 said...
Nov. 5, 2015 at 8:29 pm
This is a very well-written, thought-provoking piece of writing. I love it, I support you all the way. Be a leader, not a follower, ad be who you want to be, no matter what others say.
PasaPrincessa said...
Sept. 21, 2015 at 2:43 pm
you're full of courage, and i love you.
NeonInfinity said...
Sept. 9, 2015 at 12:23 pm
Thank you for writing this! This is amazing. I can't wait to see more of your work!
Lanimal This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 30, 2015 at 10:58 pm
I so admire your confidence and ability to learn how to love yourself. Please continue to write! This article was amazing and I look forward to reading more of your work. :)
JoJoJordan16 said...
May 27, 2015 at 4:16 pm
I hate when people do this, this is why I told my friends first.
KatyainiThis 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...
May 23, 2015 at 9:54 am
Accepting the way you are is like the hardest thing in life of any teen, You stood up for yourself and that's something very brave and admirable. TFS
Julie W. said...
May 20, 2015 at 2:12 pm
You can now tag other users by using "@".
Roza_ said...
Apr. 24, 2015 at 2:46 pm
Thank you for writing this..... This gave me courage, I get made fun of for a different reason though.....
VidsVids14 said...
Mar. 17, 2015 at 10:46 pm
So proud of you, it must've taken courage to do this!
AdeleandLoriforever said...
Mar. 3, 2015 at 11:03 am
This is so amazing! I love this story so much!! You should be a writer I would so buy your book :D :D :D Also I don't know if I could stand u for myself like that well done
taiyourshoes said...
Feb. 27, 2015 at 11:55 am
great for you i'm straight but it must have taken a lot of courage
bandgeek23 said...
Feb. 17, 2015 at 1:47 pm
I liked your story and I'm glad you stood up for who you are. Not everyone can write a story about a certain time in their life and gained confidence from it.
JoJo_Jordan said...
Feb. 16, 2015 at 5:02 pm
This is awesome, I'm glad you stood up for yourself.
Sonic said...
Feb. 11, 2015 at 4:10 pm
I have a motoe. "Just because im... "Straght", dose not mean you have to be straght too". I think alot of the problems that people have with other peoples, "sexuallity?" is set in stone. Its like in the south they fly the confederate flag over the american flag. People who hate other people just because of their, "sexuallity?" are not going to go away completley because some people are set in stone. I think I wrote this right? I'm not shur so sorry if I wrote something wrong that afends people.
embura said...
Feb. 6, 2015 at 10:12 am
Nobody shouldn't judge you or anyone just because their gay. I'm glad you came out. I'm straight, but you have a right to love who you want! I hope your life is a lot easier now, :) Thanks for writing that, it made me think.
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