Yes, yes this is a picture of me at school age. Why oh why am I showing you this?!
To celebrate the month of PRIDE I thought I’d bring you all a little story time blog post. June & July see us celebrate the LGBT community all over the world with parades, events and campaigns to bring light to the communities and the struggles faced by those in them. I’ve spoken on coming out story in this video >> HERE << & also given advice on coming out in this blog post >> HERE <<, so check those out as well. However, today I thought I’d share an experience I usually love to forget, school. More specifically, being gay in school… and an all boys school at that. So sit tight, I have a feeling it’s going to be a long one.
To people on the outside, you’d probably think being gay in an all boys school was the dream. All that testosterone, all those hunky boys & all that temptation. Well let me tell you, it was anything but the dream. Even though the LGBT community has come so far, we still have a long way to go. There are far too many people in this world not accepting people for who they are and quite frankly, that’s their problem. In school, this problem was magnified. Growing up, boys do what they can to fit in. They get in with the popular crowds, they bully who they need to bully, to impress who they need to impress. Me, being gay, I never did fit in. Although I wasn’t actually ‘out’ in school, it was still pretty obvious to everyone & their dog, I was gay.
// The Early Years \\
Moving from junior to secondary school was probably one of the hardest transitions of my life so far. Moving from a mixed gender school, where I was in the top year, happy as anything in a school I loved, to being at the bottom again. Joining an all boys school, that to be honest, was awful and to be gay in that school… yeah it was pretty tough. At the time I knew I was gay however, I wasn’t strong enough to deal with it. So the comments came in their thousands: “Gay”, “Faggot”, “Poof” (Not the furniture item), “Gay boy”.. You name it, I received it. In the early years it really effected me. I hated school, I hated life & every single day, going into that place was a living hell.
// The Middle Years \\
Heading into year 8-9, the age of about 14-15, this is where I really found myself. I grew massively, I grew as a person, I grew in confidence and well, let’s be honest… I grew in size (unfortunately, out not up). This is where It was my time to shine. By this point I was no longer at the bottom of the school, I had developed a large friendship group, I had strength, power and I had comebacks (lol). Now I was confident, I wasn’t taking shit from anyone. This is where I developed the attitude of “Don’t come for me, unless I sent for you“. I grew sassy, I had attitude, I had popularity… and as much as it pains me to say, with popularity comes protection. I knew I had to defend myself and build some sort of barrier & my way was to befriend the haters. I quickly discovered, the more you stand up to people the less they’re going to pick on you and actually, the more they’re going to respect you. Finally, I was making my way to the top.
// The Final Years \\
This for me is where things get really interesting. This is where I’m comfortable enough to admit who I am, I’m happy with who I am and I’m secure enough in myself that if someone asks, I’ll tell them. I still didn’t class myself as ‘out’, at this point, just my closest friends knew. It was my final year of school where things such as MSN & BBM were in their heyday. It was at this point where all the so-called ‘lads’ could hide behind their devices, chat you up and use you as their ‘experiment’. Oh, yeah that’s right… even the ‘jocks’ had their gay moments. This isn’t a blog post where I expose people but just know, even the most ‘masculine’ of guys had their doubts. I’d lose track of the amount of times guys would message me, asking about being gay and how did I know because ‘they’re unsure‘ or asking for my opinion on matters such as ‘what do you recon my mates would say if I came out‘. Just know this, in a line-up of my entire year group, I could probably pick out at least 30 people who I know have had their ‘gay moment’. For me, this was my power. This was my way of making my way to the top. As bad as it is, I had to use this info to get where I wanted to go. In school, vulnerability was your biggest weakness, so show none. Act tough and use whatever dirt you can, to protect yourself. It’s what I did and by the end… I was the queen of that school. Swanning around like I owned the place, with a group of friends I knew I’d never see again but for the time being, were my security blanket. Don’t get me wrong, it probably wasn’t a healthy way to live, but it worked.
Then I went to college, there was none of this mentality to having to protect myself. Awkwardly my girlfriend I had in school (to fake away the gay), also came to my college… so yeah, that was pretty awks. Other than that, I had the time of my life in, I met some amazing people and made some memories that will stick around forever.
School was rough. Being gay was tough. Nowadays, I’d hope things are different. In my opinion, more needed to be done to educate those who were simply uneducated when it came to sexuality. It never lasts forever. I did what I did, to get through and get out. Looking back, it was a pretty fun ride but at the time… it was awful!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little story time post. Have an amazing day and a great month celebrating how proud we all are. PRIDE events aren’t really my thing but I know so many people will be attending them and will have an amazing time, Enjoy!
| Harrison |