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Matt P., New Hampshire
"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 me.

"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 of stairs.

"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."


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