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


“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 37 comments. Post your own!

Cecilia S. said...
Oct. 22, 2012 at 12:27 pm:
thats awesome i think thats true
 
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Megan.T said...
Dec. 9, 2011 at 2:26 pm:
I don't enjoy being teased just because of how we act. I was always hiding in the corner of my shell,but my mom said, "You have to get out there and share you're ideas". I will always remember that.
 
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fiftiesgal467This 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. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 29, 2011 at 11:52 am:

Wow! What an amazing transformation. I'm proud of you---even though I don't know you!

 

 
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birdcage2 said...
Jul. 11, 2011 at 11:04 am:
This was amazing!! Good job :)
 
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PixyMuffin said...
Nov. 30, 2010 at 1:18 pm:
I understand what you mean. I do love this article, except with me, i'm discriminated by my own family. I have to hide it around them because i don't want to be disowned. But reading this has gave me courage to look at the pros of being open to them other than the cons. At school however, everyone knows and they treat me like another person. Not some freak show. I really enjoyed reading your article. kudos!
 
black-sapphire replied...
Dec. 25, 2010 at 6:34 pm :
your family shouldn't treat you differently just because of your sexuality...the sooner your honest with them about it, the sooner they can accept it and love you for you..
 
bluesky0728 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 25, 2010 at 11:34 pm :

black-sapphire: It'd be nice if it always worked that way, but that's not necessarily the way it is with all people or all families.

PixyMuffin: Good for you for having the confidence to be yourself at school. I'm so sorry about your family situation, but just keep looking forward and it'll all work out if you remain true to yourself :)

 
birdcage2 replied...
Jul. 11, 2011 at 11:03 am :
Pixy muffin ( cool nickname) your parents need to accept you for who you are!! An good luck coming out to them let me k lw how it goes!!:) I have two moms and im always supportive of the lgbt community!! I support you and others good luck also I have an article on my account that might help u called this I believe, you should check it out!!
 
RonnieAnn replied...
May 16, 2013 at 11:04 am :
PixyMuffin: I totally understand where your coming from, I'm bisexual and I have hinted towards my parents that I like both girls and boys. My mom flipped and told me if that was really true then she wouldn't claim me as her kid. She says its wrong and thats not how God made us. I beleive in God and everything but I will always have an attraction to girls and guys. Guys seem fine with this... no surprise and girls don't seem to care either.
 
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toxic.monkey said...
Jun. 28, 2010 at 12:45 pm:
high five! i'm glad you'vedealt with the problems you faced and ecstatic that the world's growing to be less homophobic :)
 
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addicted2candy said...
Jun. 8, 2010 at 10:43 pm:
Kudos to you for being secure enough to just be yourself! That's something all teens have to deal with wether they're gay or straight. As far as the haters go; they're just a bunch of insecure kids who have nothing else to do with themselves. It's great that you were able to forgive them cuz that's the best thing you can do to be at liberty with yourself. Always remember to stay true to YOU. Even if you weren't gay, those kids would've found something else to make fun of you about. Don't ever le... (more »)
 
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Nkeeyah said...
Apr. 12, 2010 at 12:43 am:
I know people who are gay and expirenced the same wrong as you. You are an amazing person for forgiving those girls. That word should never be used. It's wrong and demeaning to all.
 
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ZiRaww! said...
Jan. 10, 2010 at 9:41 pm:
When I came out i never had any homophobic slurrs... I would have perferred it though; I would rather be called a lesbian than guys fallowing me because they think it's hot.... Ugh its disgusting
 
brandisky replied...
Apr. 13, 2010 at 11:07 am :
agreed, it is. when i came out about being bisexual i was called the f world back and forth...so i decided to homeschool. imm going back next year tho, man is high school going to be interesting.
 
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The~crayon~in~my~heart said...
Jan. 9, 2010 at 5:47 pm:
I have a friend who is gay and he is the sweetest guy i know. and i agree trials are blessing in disguse, if only to teach
 
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michelledenise228 said...
Jan. 7, 2010 at 11:49 am:
I know just how he feels. i came out at a new school last year. and since that time i have heard every homophobic comment one can imagine. but i had never had the courage to stand up for my self until after i read this artilce
 
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Smarmodon said...
Jan. 5, 2010 at 8:45 pm:
Well, this just gave me a whole new perspective on homophobic people. I have been trying to get most of my older family to not be such homophobes, and I realize now that I've been going about it wrong. I'll take this story into consideration when at family gatherings :)
 
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