Jerrod, age 5
Little Rock, AR (1983)
My female cousin received a makeup kit for Christmas, and I was blown away by the possibilities. I KNEW red was my color, and nothing matches red lipstick better than red blush (which was also the lipstick). We had a blast until our parents saw us. They waited long enough to take a photo before yelling at us and making me take the makeup off. I complied, but felt guilty. Why was it OK for my cousin, but not me?
|"Strike a pose"|
When I came out at age 15, my parents were shocked. I thought the whole world knew. Growing up gay for me was not the struggle it was for many. I never got beat up, but I was scared a lot. My experiences in school led me to my current career as an administrator in a high school. I taught for a number of years, but wanted to reach out to more kids.
As a school administrator, I can affect thousands of children throughout my career, and let each one know that they are unique, and they are loved. And that even if it's just me, they have an adult on their side who will do everything within his power to protect him or her.