If you’re interested in being in a Video Story, just let me know and we’ll set up a time and place to meet.
Watch all the IFD Video Stories here.
For the transcript, Continue Reading.
My name’s Blair and I’m from Crystal Lake, Illinois.
Something I guess most people probably do know about me is that I went to 13 years of Catholic school. And usually when I tell people that, I get the same reaction of, “Ugh, God, I’m sorry…” but since I went from kindergarten through high school, it’s the only thing I ever knew and it seemed perfectly normal. Most people assume though that if you go to Catholic school that it’s hard growing up gay, and to be perfectly honest, I didn’t notice much of a problem or much of a difference than it seemed like for anyone else. I mean, I guess not every kindergartner brought their own hair product and comb to the kindergarten class photo shoot–which I probably spiked my hair straight up or claimed that hot pink was my favorite color in the yearbook for kindergarten, but no, I didn’t really have any trouble with any of the people. Until middle school. Then I guess things start to change for all of us.
A girl actually wrote on the playground equipment that, “Blair is a sissy” which doesn’t seem like that big of a deal right now but at the time of course it was very depressing for someone to just outright put that in public like that. And I found out later that my mom, who was a teacher at my school, went to the principal and asked that it be removed and she said that if we want it removed that we could do it ourselves. And my mom said it was ridiculous, why would you treat a student like this? And she said to my mom, “Well, some people think there’s a lot of truth to that…”
So after that I ended up in Greenville, South Carolina, for my last years of high school. I was at the top of my class and my headmaster went to my drama teacher who had become my mentor and like another mother to me, and asked if I was going to come out in my graduation speech. And that was like the rumor that was going around, because apparently that could be the most terrible thing that could ever happen. I was just so shocked that someone–you know, for a student who was working so hard and was participating so much, that they would think that little of me.
You know, your peers can be stupid and ignorant but they kind of grow out of it but what I was surprised to learn is that the adults who are in charge of looking after the education and lives of these kids could be as ignorant and narrow-minded as the students.
I’m From South Charleston, OH. “Aaron, one of the “bad kids,” one of the boys who know all of the swear words and somehow can get their hands on cigarettes, comes up behind me and grips my shoulder, turning me around. I begin to panic, wondering what I’ve done wrong. He grabs both my arms, and without saying a word pulls me to him, kissing me deeply on the lips. Then, just like that, he is gone, back to his group of delinquent friends. He never looks back. I stand there, stunned, and unsure of what to do. Our assistant principal, on lunchroom patrol, sees the whole thing. He orders me to follow him down to his office and snaps the door shut behind us. “Why did Aaron do that? Have you kissed him before?”
I’m From Cannonville, UT. “Being religious himself, [the principal] put his beliefs before the well-being of a student. Skipping the horrible details, I went from being a straight-A student to failing all of my classes. The worst part of it all, the teacher who gave me the most problems just so happened to be best friends with my parents. This caused a huge split in my family where my mom took my side and my dad did not. I struggled with depression for the rest of the year until I convinced my parents to let me leave.”
I’m From Salt Lake City, UT. “Time to go, Jason,” she said. Her voice betrayed no emotion whatsoever. It was devoid of anger, but also tenderness. I leapt off the couch and out the door, rushing to the passenger seat of the Pontiac idling outside. My mom got in and turned to look at me. “I’m so sorry, mom. We were just playing and…” She cut me off. “JC, people have different opinions about right and wrong. When you get older it will be up to you to figure that out. Basil and Angela don’t share my opinion on some things.” She smiled as I stared back wide-eyed. “Now, how about we go get some ice cream?”