I’m Ronny Oliver. I’m Mathias Oliver. I’m Reagan Oliver and we are the Oliver family from Spokane, Washington. (Mathias) Yes! (Reagan) We’ve been working really hard on helping Mathias our son who’s fifteen and he came out when he was twelve, and we’ve been trying to. (Ronny) Eleven, officially. (Reagan) Well, that’s right, eleven. I stand corrected. And so one day, Mathias I think, just finally had the courage or just felt inspired to share that with both of us and so he came down to talk to us and what ended up happening was he couldn’t actually articulate it he needed to – he wrote it down on a little scratch of paper and handed it to his dad. (Ronny) I’ve always told him that he could talk to us about anything. And especially me, and I think for what he had to say he was a little bit apprehensive, but once he gave me the note, I want to reassure him that no matter what – whether he’s gay, African American, tall, short, slim, larger – he’s my son and I love him. And I would want to support him no matter what he does. (Mathias) We had some difficult issues with some of the kids and just sort of the environment at school. And thankfully I had these two beautiful, wonderful people (laugher) to come home to. And the main concerns were just with some of the dialogue that was said about me – “homo” and I usually don’t use this word, but “fag” and just, not nice words at all. The fact that they were even thought of being used to project on me even though they didn’t even know me was scary enough. That they were taking time out of their day to just totally ruin mine. So I wanted to try and nip that in the bud as soon as possible. Not just for me but for anyone else coming to school. (Ronny) The type of language that has bombarded him as he goes to school and walk down the street. I’ll just tell you a situation, one day he came home and said some kids were giving him a hard time, calling him some names – he and his friend were walking home and I don’t know if this is the time that the kids spit on him or something like that but he came home and told us and soon as i heard what he said I told my wife – “Let’s go! We’re going to go talk to those kids and find out who’s doing this, and why they are doing that.” (Mathias) This was a separate incident from the spitting thing and I’d actually been coming home from this thing called Bench Practice and it’s kind of like a student version of cheerleading. We get together, we do routines at this big church bench and make everything all cool and stuff. (Ronny) Spirit rally in a sense? (Mathias) Yes, and we’d been walking home and I don’t think they might have been thinking straight cause my friend, she said she could see a wine bottle in there and they’d been smoking so I’m going to guess that they were a little friendly when it came to the drinking so – it was kind of scary because they specifically said to my friend Aubrey – they called her “Booty-ho” which doesn’t even make much sense to me, (laughter) but okay, and they’d said, and I believe this was by one of the African American’s that was in the car at the time – he said “I was a disgrace to all black people.” Which is like, okay, well, just blow them off and we came home and as my father pointed out, kind of went all father commando mode and wanted to punch people in the face. (Ronny) So I went out there and talked to the kids and found out in fact, two of the kids were football players on the team, and after I talked to them for a little bit and said, “Just listen man, my son’s a freshman, he’s kind of new to the school. He’s not use to what’s going on. Can you guys look out for him and make sure he’s okay?” He said, “Yes, no problem.” You know it was just as simple as that – just talking to the kids, so that just shows that there’s so many kids out there just willing to help. All you have to do is sometimes just talk to them and say something. So that made me feel so much better. My son was still embarrassed but I told him I wouldn’t do that again. (laughter) I learned my lesson. But, you know, I think that’s a growing process for us as parents to learn what to do and what not to do. So, I learned my lesson.
I’m From Spokane, WA – Video Story.
by Mathias Oliver