Unpopular Opinion

December 21, 2009

I’ve never been confused for being popular. I never wore the right clothes, or listened to the right music, and I definitely never had the right friends. I think the only thing I did right, was stay the hell out of the way of the popular kids. This was different though. There was no staying quiet, and definitely no staying out of their way. Not this time.

Gary was a new kid. He had moved here from California. I guess he never got the memo that whatever was acceptable in California was probably not acceptable here in the good ‘ole South. He walked in wearing a purple shirt, tight jeans, and his hair was just so. The girls went crazy over him, as he was a very attractive guy, if you’re into guys, you know. He was from California which automatically put him into the popular crowd; I mean, aren’t all Californians tragically hip?

As time went on, and Gary never asked any girls out, questions were asked and jokes made. At first, it was just assumed that none of the girls here were good enough for him. He was used to Hollywood beauties, so there wasn’t much offense taken. However, one day during lunch, he was asked about his previous girlfriends… This was not a good day for Gary. He was too honest for his own good, and confessed that he was gay. This of course, immediately ostracized him. He was no longer a “cool kid”. The girls looked at him weirdly. They couldn’t understand how a guy that good-looking could not be into girls, especially girls like them. The guys looked at him like he was a piece of shit. They couldn’t stand to be near him.

That was when I first became interested. I wanted to know why sexuality was so huge in determining your social status. Sluts and manwhores had better social statuses than Gary, all because they were straight. What kind of bullshit was that? I did the research, there have been gays all throughout history. Hell, the ancient Greek culture thrived off of it! Men were for love-love, and women were for procreating-love. I’m not saying I am of the same opinion as them, but it’s whatever floats your boat.

So, here I am. It’s our high school graduation, and for whatever weird reason, I was asked to give a speech. I don’t think anyone is prepared for what I have to say. I’m not even sure I am. This has to be said though, and I’m not backing out now. My time is moments away, so I close my eyes and take a breath. There’s my name. It’s time.

“Good afternoon recent graduates, family, and friends! It is so good to be here! One chapter closed, and another one opening in front of us! First, I’d like to thank all of the teachers, for without you there is no way we’d be graduating. I know I wouldn’t be! Secondly, I’d like to thank the families. Without your support and involvement in our lives, how many of us would be up here right now accepting our diplomas? Thank you!

Now I’d like to address not only our graduating class, but also all of our guests on success and  something that I think is vital to society as a whole. In order to succeed in life, there is a formula. You have to be willing to take risks, know when to hold back, and network, network, network! Not to mention, being dedicated and motivated! All of these traits are things I think we all have, and success is within our grasp!

However, I think we all could serve to be reminded that there is no one to look out after us and each other, besides ourselves. Society works best when we take care of each other and learn to love and accept all. I think some of us have had a problem with that. We are great at accepting others based on gender, race, style, and even background! However, we seem to get uncomfortable when it comes to sexuality. Why is this? What makes a gay man so different from a straight man? I know the obvious answer, but I’m talking on a deeper level. If we can accept differences on so many other levels, why not this one? I challenge every single one of you to get to know a gay or lesbian, and I’m willing to bet good money you’re going to find they’re not so very different from me and you!

Thank you fellow graduates for all your hard work leading up to this momentous occasion! Thank you teachers and administrative staff for ensuring we had everything we needed to learn! And thank you family and friends for believing in us! Hope to see you all in 10 years at the reunion!”

I’ve never been so isolated in my life. Everyone was treating me as if I had some kind of disease. Even my family had nothing to say to me. Gary walked over to me and smiled. I think this is the first time I’ve seen him smile in a year and a half. This was worth it.

-DeAnne Evans

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