"I switched to the public school in tenth
grade. That was in `95. Most of my friends were there, and it was okay
for the first couple of months.
"I broke up with my girlfriend. I met a guy;
he was from a rival town. It was cool because we could keep it secret.
I told four people. One of the girls wanted to go out with me, so she put
it out on the school e-mail system that day.
"From then on it was a nightmare. There were
4,500 people in my town, and one identifiably gay male in town besides
"I was harassed every day. They'd say, `faggot,'
`queer,' stuff like that.
"My place was in the art room. For my next
class after art, I had to go up to the third floor to English, past the
landing where the rednecks hung out. They tripped me. I never did anything
to them. It was always, `faggot,' `queer.' I got pushed down the flight
"It got so I didn't go to the locker room
or the bathroom. I stopped using my locker. My lock started disappearing
and reappearing on other people's lockers.
"It wasn't just at school. My father was
harassed. People would recognize his car. On the day of his wedding, we
were walking back and these people drove by and yelled "faggot" at me.
That was the first time that my extended family had heard of it.
"Another time, I kissed my boyfriend in the
car at the light, and some people got out of their car and screamed at
us. They went driving after us, tailgating us and yelling and screaming.
"It wasn't all bad. A lot of people were
very friendly. But the people that weren't were really loud. There are
always people with different viewpoints, but these people were obnoxious.
"Nothing was done by the administration.
A guy screamed `queer' down the hall in front of the principal's office,
but nothing happened to him. The teachers-yeah, the teachers could have
seen what was going on. Nothing happened."