Outspoken: Jesse Leonard
May 22 2006 12:00 AM ET
I used to think
harassment was something students did to other students.
That changed earlier this year after I came out to my
principal at Thorp High in Wisconsin. He asked me
questions like “Did you ever do anything with a
woman?” “How old were you when you first
experimented with a guy?” and “Do you
know where you go when you die?”
A week after
that, I was wearing a T-shirt that read "Let’s get
one thing straight: I’m not."
I asked a female
teacher, “So what do think of my shirt?” She
looked at it and laughed, then asked, “Do you
really think that people are born that way?” I
said, “Um…yeah!” She told me, “I
think homosexuality is a sin,” and that
“God doesn’t make people that way; the devil
does.” I said, “I’m sorry you
feel that way,” and walked out of school with so
much rage inside me that I just wanted to let go of the
steering wheel as I sped home crying.
not be forcing their views on us and prying into our
personal lives. We have enough to deal with at school with
peer pressure, and if you’re an LGBT teen,
it’s harder still. I have been talking with
some organizations and other teachers, and I am hoping to
soon file a harassment complaint against my school. I
want teenagers to know there are organizations that
specialize in dealing with LGBT teens and
discrimination at school. If gay teens face discrimination,
they should do something, because we all have the
right to feel safe at school.
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