PHOTO: Laurel Golio
We Are the Youth is a new, photographic journalism project chronicling the individual stories of LGBT youth across the country. One of the newest stories is that of Quincy, an 18-year-old student at the University of Montevallo in Alabama.
Like many other Black gay men, his youth was heavily influenced by the traditional anti-gay church. That upbringing, plus being often bullied and harassed by fellow students, made him consider suicide.
I got picked on, especially in the South. This guy in eighth grade rode our bus and hit me upside the head. We took it to the police and met with the middle school administrators. Then I had to go to high school with him. I reported every single thing he did to the school counselor. He eventually dropped out of high school.
I was always really quiet and more feminine, so people thought I was gay, but I didn’t want to be. My local church was really conservative. I was really afraid I wasn’t going to make it to heaven. In tenth grade, I was dating someone, but wasn’t open about my relationship.
During that time, I was really depressed a lot. I can honestly say I thought of ending everything. There was one day, I got in a fight with my mom. I remember crying so hard that day. Then later, I was clenching a bottle of her painkillers. I really think it was divine inspiration that I didn’t die. I just sat there and eventually calmed down. I thought about how I wanted to be a music teacher, and if I died I wouldn’t be able to do that. I talked to a school counselor. I never did tell my mom about that.
Around tenth grade I started telling a lot of my friends I was gay. I’m kind of glad. Before then I was scared, but once people were like, “whatever” I could be more open. That was really great. My dad is really cool about it and my mom has gotten better. I brought my last boyfriend around, but we don’t really talk about it. My grandmother’s amazing. She’s a member of PFLAG. She just wanted to understand.
I’m so happy with how things are now. I’m in one of the best schools ever. I feel really good about myself. I think I’m making a lot of good decisions.
Bravo. Quincy is making some excellent decision.
Read the full story. It's beautiful and very inspirational.