Coming Out In High School (Transcript) | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

Transcripts

Coming Out In High School

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

13:17:10
Coming to terms with your sexual identity can be difficult at any age. But perhaps one of the tougher times is during high school. "The Trevor Project," a national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention among young people who are lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered and questioning, says homosexual youth are four times more likely to commit suicide than heterosexual youth.

MR. ROB SACHS

13:17:32
And here to tell us about one student's experience is WAMU's education reporter, Kavitha Cardoza. Hi, Kavitha.

MS. KAVITHA CARDOZA

13:17:38
Hi, Rob. Hi, Rebecca. The student I want to introduce you to today is Kevin Avellano. A few years ago, he was a freshman at Springfield High School in Virginia. He shared his experiences with me first realizing he was gay and then coming out.

MR. KEVIN AVELLANO

13:17:52
I would start to think about men in a different manner and it wasn't setting right with me because I grew up as a Catholic. I was very, very shocked at what I was thinking and what was going through my mind. And when I got home, I would just sit there and think about why I was thinking those things because I'm supposed to be straight.

MR. KEVIN AVELLANO

13:18:10
My father found something on my computer and he told my mom and we had an argument about who I was and if I could change. And she asked me if I could be different. My dad didn't talk to me for about three months or so and then my mom would just avoid the topic. I would like to talk to them about it, but they just need time to process the whole thing of who I am and who I'm going to be.

MR. KEVIN AVELLANO

13:18:36
For friends and school-wise, basically my coming out wasn't a choice. I got made fun of. People would talk about me constantly as I would walk by. I would hear it. They would call me a fag, faggot. He's so gay. Because I was on the football team at the time, too, they basically -- it was like an attack if I was, like, staring at them in the locker room, which I wasn't doing whatsoever. But they believed what they believed, you know, because of the normal stereotype of gay people.

MR. KEVIN AVELLANO

13:19:02
At first, I would basically, like, just sit in my room and lock myself in there and just listen to music and just try to calm down because I felt so alienated, like I didn't belong anywhere. There were days where I would just cry and at a certain point, I would just fake illnesses because I didn't want to go to school. I stopped football. My grades dropped. I was questioning my existence, basically questioning who I was and questioning if I should even live.

SHEIR

13:19:32
That's a powerful story. Was Kevin able to find assistance?

CARDOZA

13:19:35
Kevin says things looked up as he met more gay students like him. He graduated and he's now a freshman at Howard University. He's also a youth leader for the non-profit, SMILE, that stands for Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League, helping students with information about issues facing the LGBTQ community and teaching them how to advocate for themselves. He's got a lot more confident. Take a listen to this.

AVELLANO

13:19:59
The whole experience made me appreciate the fact that I can't try to always fit in. I can't fit in a box. I guess since I didn't like myself for so long that it was time for me to fully be happy. I'm here to stay and I'm here to live my life. I'm here to be just Kevin.

SACHS

13:20:17
Kavitha Cardoza is WAMU's education reporter. Thanks so much for joining us today Kavitha.

CARDOZA

13:20:21
Thanks for having me.
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