Guest speaker tells students they have right to be safe at school regardless of sexual orientation

 

By Haley Rose

 

Guest speaker Chris Rabideau speaks with students at General Amherst High School during his recent visit. Rabideau told the students that “being gay is not a stereotype. It’s who you are.” PHOTO BY HALEY ROSE

Guest speaker Chris Rabideau speaks with students at General Amherst High School during his recent visit. Rabideau told the students that “being gay is not a stereotype. It’s who you are.” PHOTO BY HALEY ROSE

According to Rabideau, language is everything when telling a story. It’s not just a matter of throwing words together; they have to mean something, positive. Society often hears the word “gay” in a negative connotation but he encouraged people to be more understanding.

Coming out for Chris at home was fairly easy, his parents and siblings were very accepting and he says he is very grateful because of that. Coming out in school though was a very different situation.

“Between the ages of 7-10 were the hardest because during that time everyone’s trying to figure out who they are still,” he said.

In elementary school, he hung around with the girls mostly, never getting into sports or hanging out with the popular kids, he always knew he was different. When high school came, on his very first day, it seemed like he was ridiculed for everything he did. Rabideau stated this went on for most of high school but in his final year when he was 18, one afternoon in the cafeteria, he decided he couldn’t take it anymore and said it was time for the truth.

Rabideau stood up on a table saying “I know there’s rumors about me going around if I’m gay or not and they are true, I’m gay. This is who I am.”

Today, Rabideau feels it is important that he spreads the word to kids letting them know how everyone has the right to feel safe at school. Clubs or organizations like the Gay Straight Alliance at Amherst or LGBTQA can help kids who may be struggling with who they are and help to find support in ways they too can reveal their true identities to others.

Rabideau says that “being gay is not a stereotype, it’s who you are.”

 

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