Benjamin Gallagher

Queer Orlando Lifestyle Blog

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“Boy Out” by Benjamin Gallagher 

“I can’t move,” I said to friends. We sat outside amongst the other students waiting for the first bell to ring. High School started last month. I came out to my parents over the summer. They accepted me with open arms, unlike the student body. 

“Don’t sit near him. He’s gay,” one boy said to our classmates. His comments echoed in my head. I felt afraid to move. My body language apparently told people how weak a gay person could be without any friends. Loneliness folded time into a bookmark. I couldn’t get out of bed and eventually stopped going to school. 

“There’s a gay youth group in West Palm Beach. We want to take you there,” Dad said to me. The Compass Community Center hosted the group every weekday afternoon. There I discovered a small piece of self-confidence to bring back home. The group consisted of LGBTQ teens who struggled with similar if not more difficult problems. Homelessness, drug abuse, and HIV were just some of the daily challenges these teens faced. 

The center connected youths with both the friends and resources to keep themselves alive. I felt okay-enough to get out of bed. I transferred schools and started a Gay-Straight Alliance. Having a community mattered enough to make a difference in my life. I wanted others to feel the same. 

I recommend the Zebra Coalition for LGBTQ youths in Orlando, FL. They offer counseling and mental health services. Pride Month is coming to an end but that doesn’t mean we can stop supporting one another. 

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Love, BoyKitsch

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