Austin doesn’t have to play “the pretend game,” as he calls it, anymore. At his middle school, he has come out to his close friends, who have been supportive.
The article that I linked to above is a New York Times expose on a young man who came out in middle school. I am glad that the author clarifies that just because this particular young man has come out at a young age, that does not suggest homogeny among middle school environments for queer youth or experiments with young sexuality- the author has found acceptance in some rural schools, while finding intolerance and even hatred towards queer youth in settings where a more diverse and tolerant atmosphere was expected.
Articles like this are particularly uplifting to me. It says to me that the work that I and thousands of other grassroots activists across the country does make a difference for some and will make a difference for many generations to come. If a few people are brave enough to speak up, then it gives others the courage to also do so, because they see that they are not alone in their situation and therefore do not have to be alone in this fight.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about these kind of things lately as the Homecoming Parade approaches and the March on Washington looms ahead. Despite my complicated schedule and general drain of energy, I feel a surge of motivation for these projects because I know that these highly visible local and national platforms are an important way to reach out to those in the crowd who are still standing alone in dark wardrobes, wondering if it’s safe yet to peak out.