A Very Wise TeenagerPublished Jan 2, 2011
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The first time I saw Harry I will admit I was intrigued. I knew from what a mutual friend of ours had said that he was openly gay, meaning I was no longer the only openly gay person in the orchestra that we played in. So, as any intrigued teenager in my situation would do when surrounded by some girlfriends; I stared at him and giggled with my friends whenever I was not playing my instrument. The night, however, ended and while I had not talked to him I had made an impression. I found out through our mutual friend that he had interpreted my giggling as making fun of him, I needed to apologize and talk to him. When I did, I found out that the reason for his interpretation was that he had had a rough day in school. From there, I realized there was a story behind this amazing violinist that needed to be told and from which we all can learn.
Though he has known that he was at least "a little different" his entire life, it was not until he was in his early high school years, about 14 or 15 years old that he knew he was gay. Before that point he says that he saw everybody as “just people” with nothing particularly physically attractive or unattractive about them either way. When he started his freshman year in high school, as he put it, "…the hormones start to kick in and voila, we start to see different people in a slightly different way." Basically saying that at that point, while he could look at a girl and say she was beautiful, pretty, etc., he did not find them physically attractive.
This is where he becomes a little bit of a rarity in the LGBTQ community. For the most part he skipped over the, "holy crap! What the heck?" stage. While he was at first a little apprehensive and uncomfortable with his realization that he was gay it was not long before he thought to himself, in regards to the rest of the LGBTQ community, "Well, they are proud of who they are, so why shouldn't I [be]?" Then, only a week or so after his epiphany (something I think a lot of people would be jealous of) he began to come out.
It was only his close friends that he came out to at first, but since they were very supportive of him, he came out to all the people he really cared about; including his parents. His parents are some of the best! They were both supportive of him, in their own ways. His mom said she knew all along, that it was mother's intuition or something along those lines. His father, who he came out to shortly thereafter, was the one of whose reaction he was unsure. Not to say that he thought his father's reaction would be negative, he knew he would be supportive; he just had no idea what he would say. When he told his father his reaction was, "Ha, do you honestly think it matters? You are still the kid I have to force to do chores."
When it came to coming out past those he cared about, however, he did not see a reason to. He believes that being gay is only a minor part of him, not a defining factor. So, if someone wants to know if he is gay all they have to do is ask, but he is not going to go out of his way to tell everyone. Though, he says, it is not hard to figure because he really likes to talk about guys.
For someone like him, a well rounded, down to earth, and talented senior, people might think that high school gives him little troubles. That is, however, not the case. Unfortunately his shoreline Connecticut high school is a lot like many high schools: filled with people who know that it is not ok to outwardly be a bigot, but still find a way to be all the same. He has been bullied because of his sexuality, which he believes is one of the most hurtful types of bullying because it is something he cannot change. He has a saying though that often helps to make things better for him: "They can say hurtful things about me, but it will never change who I am."
High school is not all bad, however; he has made some of his best friends in high school, great friends who, like him, are "vehemently opposed to gossip." Not to mention that he firmly believes his school has prepared him for college.
For everyone there are trials and tribulations they will face throughout the course of their lives. For LGBTQ people most of those things are preventable, which is why we should learn from Harry's story. His story shows why it is so important for LGBTQ people to be proud of who they are; it may help someone else. He points out that though it is important for the people you care about and those who care about you to know about you, it is as important to make sure that being gay does not define who you are as a person. Lastly, his story shows us how important it is to be accepting, and when faced with people who are not that it is important to stay strong because, as my Uncle Jay once told me, they are probably just jealous of how strong we are.
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Hello Jacob, this is Anne Beon, we spoke in North Stonington at Wheeler High a while back. That is a great story great story, you are so mature and talented. I do hope your parents are duely proud of you. Be well and keep up the great work you do. Annie