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Growing Up Fabulous: Beign an openly gay man in a not so open world

By , nowhere, IN
“I have known I was different ever since I can remember.” These are the words of openly gay, high school sophomore Devon Back. Being different is something he has not only learned to live with, but something he has learned to embrace. Since he was a young boy, Back knew something was “off.” He played with girls, liked dress-up and stuffed animals, Power Puff Girls: all things little boys just shouldn’t like. As Back says, “I did things like girls did.” It was in sixth grade when he first identified himself as a gay man.

Leaving the closet was a terrifying thought at first because Devon had been raised in a strict Catholic household. After eighth grade, however, he revoked the Christian faith and no longer used it as a reason to hold him back. “I spent two years of my life trying to like girls, and gave up when I knew it was impossible…it’s just how I am, nothing I or others could do would change that.” He first came out to a close friend who also didn’t believe in God, and she was proud of him for accepting it. Soon, he felt comfortable enough to confide in other close friends, and then everyone else. “It wasn’t until later that I came out to my parents.”

Coming out to his parents proved difficult, but their reactions were expected. “I received a mix of shame, sadness, and anger.” Their expectations had been let down. They thought he had chosen this lifestyle. They wondered where they had gone wrong. Devon was expecting this and knew not to over react. “I…know I was born this way.”

So how does it feel being an openly gay highschooler? Devon doesn’t mind. “After the teasing stopped, I don’t find it hard…” But there was a lot of teasing. Names like” faggot” were hurled at him on a daily basis. “I had never done anything to them, but they went out of their way to call me names just because I was different.” Once he became a freshman though, the teasing reduced drastically. As Dustin says, “…people got used to it…” Now he loves being openly gay. “I enjoy being different.”

Devon doesn’t regret coming out. “What I do regret is not coming out earlier…I couldn’t feel like myself when I was trying to act heterosexual.” He has realized that he can never let someone tell him what’s good and what’s bad. “Being gay, you have to throw socially accepted things out the window because they will get you nowhere.” In life, Devon wants to move to Germany where he will be more accepted and attend a university to major in biochemistry. “I want to marry a sweet, handsome man and adopt two children.”

Being an openly gay high school sophomore hasn’t proved as difficult as would be expected. Devon knows who he is and doesn’t let others bother him. After years of silent struggles, he is happy that his fellow classmates know the real Devon.





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