COMING OUT: Students, faculty delve into diversity

Students speak out, stand up against bullying due to sexual orientation

by Lindsey Buck

Dyke. The word is very familiar to freshman Courtney Boysun.

Boysun first realized that she was bisexual during her seventh grade year. She came out to a close friend, whose cousin decided to “come out for her.”
“I was really scared. I knew that people would get weird about it,” Boysun said.

Some gay students at CMR share Boysun’s opinion about coming out. In a high school atmosphere, students can worry about excessive bullying, judgments, and prejudices due to their sexual orientation. At home some students experience the same conflicts and find themselves in a hostile environment.

Living in Oregon from her third to eighth grade years, Boysun said she can recall an enormous amount of bullying.

“They would call me nasty, or a dyke, or a whore. [They assumed] that because I like both [genders] I’m a whore,” she said.

When she moved to CMR, Boysun said she experienced some of the same taunting and bullying.

“I don’t fit in with the ‘popular people’,” she said. “They don’t like it. I’ve gotten into arguments about it, but it shouldn’t matter. It may affect religion, but [students] don’t need to affect you.”

Aside from her problems at school, Boysun said she has had a hard time at home. Boysun told her mother about -er sexual orientation before her father.

“She said it was just a stage. She says she supports me but she’s against it,” Boysun said. Her father, she said, took things harder.

“He yelled at me. He wondered ‘how could his little baby girl be like that,’” she said.

However, Boysun said that looking back, she wouldn’t change anything.

“I’m glad I’ve gone through all this. I’ve learned that it shouldn’t matter. If you lose friends then you can tell who your true friends are,” she said. “We are all human, gay or not.”

Much like Boysun, senior Emily Townsend has experienced conflicts in her life due to her sexual orientation. Realizing that she was gay during her sophomore year, Townsend found herself in a dilemma.

“I was nervous about what people would think of me. I’ve had negative thoughts,” she said.

Despite her fear, keeping in mind that it was “[her] life” to live, Townsend said she decided to come out to a very close friend.

“She was the first person I told,” Townsend said. “She’s been really supportive.”

Townsend said she appreciates this friend greatly, but some people in her life have decided not to support her.

“I’ve lost friendships. Some of my family is a little more distant,” she said.

With these losses, Townsend said she has experienced more problems. She said she hears slurs towards her sometimes, and people have used the word “uncomfortable” when they describe being around her.

Townsend said people need to realize that, “it’s still a form of love. It’s not a change in what they know. It shouldn’t really matter.”

Despite the struggles she has experienced, she said she has learned more than she has lost.

“I’ve learned that it’s OK to be yourself. You need to be true to yourself and be proud of who you are. I have supportive friends and family. The people I told encouraged me to be true to that,” she said.

In her decision to come out to the school, Townsend said she hoped to inspire others.

“Don’t be afraid of coming out because it’s not that bad. It’s my life; I’m happy,” she said.

Like Townsend, the fear of coming out didn’t stop sophomore Padyn Humble. Humble began telling some close friends in his seventh and eighth grade years, but officially came out this year.

Humble came out to his mother first, and later his father. He said that both parents were accepting of his sexual orientation.

“My mom knew, and it was completely OK with her,” Humble said. Aside from his mother, he said that he finds talking to his father difficult because “he is the male figure in [his] life.”Humble said that even through the consequences that may result, it is better to be out.

“Our high school is easy to be out in. It’s not that bad. It’s

 

easier not to hide,” he said.

Although Humble has personally experienced taunts and bullying in school, he said that it “doesn’t bother [him.]” However, he said he believes that it needs to stop because other students are bothered by it.

“People feel they need to throw their opinion in whenever they can. If [gay students] aren’t out, it bothers them,” Humble said.

He said that the solution to the problems he sees at CMR is simple: respect.

“[Bullies] need to realize that [gay students] have the same feelings as they do,” he said.

With all these experiences, Humble said he has changed from when he first discovered that he was gay in his sixth grade year.

“I’ve learned I’m a stronger person than I thought. It’s all about respect.”

 

Students, faculty share opinions, religious views regarding homosexuality at CMR

by Jennifer Verzuh

In class discussions English teacher Jamie McGraw tries to keep her opinions to herself, but that certainly doesn’t mean she doesn’t have them, especially when it comes to the topic of homosexuality.”It just doesn’t matter to me,” McGraw said of people’s sexual orientation. “It’s not a qualifying element as to whether or not I care about them. It matters much more to me what kind of human being they are.”

She said she tries to supports gay and lesbian students when they come to her with problems.

“My students are my students. It’s hard for me to watch them struggle,” she said.

Like McGraw, some members of the CMR community are supportive of homosexuality while others respectfully disagree.

Junior Destiny Perry has several friends at CMR who are gay, and said she has no problem with it.

“I’m not against it. It’s not bad in my opinion. As long as they’re happy that’s what matters,” Perry said. “I just like being friends with a variety of people. [Their sexual orientation] doesn’t make it awkward at all. I don’t judge people. It’s who they are.”

Perry said she is entirely for equality.

“I think that people who are gay have the right to be happy like straight people,” she said. “They’re not different, and they shouldn’t be treated any different.”

While senior Heidi Winslow doesn’t believe in chastising homosexuals for their beliefs, she said she cannot support it.

“I think it’s wrong,” Winslow said. “In the Bible it says it’s a sin, and the Bible is kind of my guide.”

As a born-again Christian, Winslow said she believes that people are not born homosexual or bisexual because God created everyone and “He wouldn’t intentionally make them that way.”

“It’s our free will that makes us sin,” she said.

Winslow added, however, that someone’s sexuality won’t keep her from befriending them.

“I accept the person but I reject the sin,” she said. “They’re people too and that doesn’t have to be the thing that separates me from a person who’s gay or lesbian.”

Evangelical Free Christian senior Beau Bridgeman agrees that homosexuality is morally wrong.

“My personal opinion is that it’s a sin and it’s wrong,” he said. “I would disagree with the idea that people are born that way.”

Bridgeman also said that he wouldn’t have a problem being friends with people who are gay “as long as their homosexuality isn’t affecting me in any way [and] they’re not pushing their views on me.”

“As a Christian I’m called to love people no matter what sin they’re involved in,” Bridgeman said.

McGraw said in her 13 years as an educator she’s seen more students come out lately than in the past.

“I guess that means it’s become more socially acceptable and they feel more comfortable coming out to their peers than they did 10 years ago,” she said. “I think teens are becoming more accepting.”

NOTE: To read this package’s opinion pieces, click on the “Stampede Print Edition April 2012” link on the web site’s home page.