Unless you grew up in some kind pro-gay progressive stronghold, you were likely tormented relentlessly if you were openly gay in high school in America. Anyone who is in any way LGBT knows this. Personally, I grew up in a smallish city in South Carolina, and I was in high school from 1995-1999. I came out officially when I was 14, in the fall of 1995, and it was hell. I was already in what is called a “glass closet”- meaning people knew anyway, and had always known, because I was just that obviously queer (luckily, I’ve learned to turn the flame down a bit as an adult in order to get along in the world).
After I came out, I was tormented in any number of cruel ways on a daily basis, and had even been bullied for years before that. No amount of elementary and middle school bullying could prepare me for the torture of high school, though. I came to school one day to find the word “fag” in red spray paint on my locker. I had eggs thrown at me almost daily at the bus stop every morning (in fact, I washed egg out of my hair almost every day freshman and sophomore year). I was the constant target of lunchroom and locker room beatdowns. You get the picture.
Well, that may have been a long time ago, but things still aren’t easy for queer kids in America’s high schools. However, they have something we didn’t: Whisper, which is a smart phone app that lets them anonymously tell the world what they go through each day, in hopes of receiving supportive responses.
Brace yourselves, because these very real confessions will surely break your heart.
Some describe the loneliness of being the only gay kid in a friend circle. After all, it would be nice to have just one friend who understands, right?
Another post highlighted the worst fear of any LGBT person: Being outed against our will. This young man broke up with his girlfriend after coming out to her, and instead of showing him the compassion and understanding he deserved, she told the whole school his secret, potentially making him a target for torment and humiliation.
Yet another post highlights the fear of coming out, and the lengths we’ll go to in order make people think we’re at least a little bit straight. This youngster would rather lie and say he is bisexual rather than own who he is to avoid the inevitable shunning.
Still another confession reveals not only the loneliness, but also what it is like to watch our straight counterparts find their first loves while we remain single, wondering what it is like to experience all that teen love is and should be.
And another brings us full circle, confessing to the relentless bullying that so many LGBT teens endure, and how difficult something as seemingly normal and routine as going to school is made by it.
There are many more posts just like these on Whisper and other social media. Being a high school kid is already hard. Adolescence is a turbulent time for all of us. But, for LGBT teens, it is so much more difficult. If anyone who is LGBT in high school and struggling is reading this, please know that you are not alone. So many of us have been there. You will survive this time. High school doesn’t last forever. For many people, those are their glory days. For some of us, it is and was the worst sort of hell. Think of it like this, though: Your glory days are yet to come, and when they do, you’ll set the world on fire.