My name is Ben Kidd and I am in my last year of school at Grammar this year. To say that it was easy coming out would be a lie. As someone who has been at the school’s hostel for the entirety of my time at Grammar, my situation was made doubly as difficult. For a day student, going to Grammar may have been difficult, and returning home may have been a breath of relief. But as a boarder, I was put under constant scrutiny for the way I talked and the way I acted.
“Why do you talk like that?”
“Why do you walk like that?”
“You sound like a gay person.”
I struggled during my first years trying to understand who I was as a person, and the “pride” that many of my fellow students had for the school made it difficult for me to interact with others. I had a very small group of close friends but I would struggle to interact with any of the other students, as I feared I would become the butt of the joke (pun not intended of course).
I came out to Grammar during Form 6, by which time I finally felt comfortable enough with myself that other people’s comments shouldn’t matter to me. Although it was no surprise to many of my fellow peers, I feared I may lose friends because they wouldn’t like me based off of such a small part of my identity. The opposite happened. People were much more comfortable with it and to much surprise many of my friends wanted to know more about the community I was a part of. It shows that we students should be informed about the LGBTQ community even if it may be a small part of Grammar and its heritage.
As I go into my final year I feel optimistic that this is the beginning of an even better Grammar. Small steps will eventually lead to bigger things. I hope this helps and resonates with as many people as possible. Whoever said that it gets better as you get older was right. Maturity is a strange thing that takes its time with some people. Don’t be afraid of who you may be. Find people you feel comfortable with and confide in them. You’ll be surprised by how they may take it. Think positively and keep your head up.
Ben Kidd is going into Form 7 this year. He has been part of the school’s productions for three years and has been involved in a few sports including rugby which he played for two years. Ben is also a part of the school’s hostel. He is looking forward to a new year filled with many opportunities.