Thursday, 21 March 2013

A New Hope

Growing up I had a pretty bleak view of my future as a gay man. The world, as I saw it, was one filled with hate, intolerance and death. For those in the LGBT community, these three things seemed to me, to be not only inevitable, but also certain. Despite my large and supportive group of friends and the high marks I received in school, I thought that no one (especially not my family) would ever accept or love me once they knew who I was.

How very wrong I was.

Coming out for me was one of the most loving and incredible experiences of my life and in what seemed like no time at all, I had almost all of my friends and family standing strong by my side. This love gave me an incredible strength and confidence to face the world outside of the one I knew; the one that glitters and dazzles, the ‘gay’ world. Completely out of my comfort zone, I threw myself into every event, club and march possible, desperate to understand and experience a part of myself I had hidden and denied for so long. However, as the novelty of this new world slowly began to fade I found myself longing for more.

Once again my education became my focus and with my renewed passion for the LGBT community I began the second year of my degree in education as an out and proud gay man, determined to make a difference in the lives of LGBT teachers and youth. Unlike my first time coming out, I found the academic community lacking in support and an absence of LGBT peers, who like me strived to make the world a better place. Once again, I felt alone and the hope I once felt for not only my own future, but also others like me slowly began to dissipate.

Now that I have found The Pinnacle Foundation and met my fellow scholars that hope has come back with a force that I haven’t felt since my 80 year old Nanna, held my hand, looked me in my eyes and said (in her very broken English) that she would always love me, no matter who I chose to love. To the foundation I say thank you for your incredibly kind support and unwavering passion for education. To my fellow scholars I say thank you for giving me back my hope for not only my future but for the future of all kids, whether they be LGBT or not. If your passion, commitment and dedication to your careers are any indication for the future of equality in all areas of this country, there is no reason for I or any other LGBT youth to ever feel hopeless again.

By Matt Russo

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