April 5, 2020
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I grew up in Queens, New York. While attending middle school I witnessed
quite a number of homophobic incidents. And because of that, I became acclimatized to it all. At that time, being gay was seen as a big
no. It was seem as wrong and you quickly became
teasing material. Being exposed to all of the hate towards the
gay community, I quickly became homophobic. Hating on gay people became part of my lifestyle. And helping them was out of the question. So I would often witness guys being beaned
and would never offer assistance. There was a point in my life that I developed
such a hatred for gays. I could not comprehend the fact that a man
could have feelings for another man in the way I could have feelings for a woman. I had a guy friend I often hung out with. And this one time we were playing handball. And I notice he started touching and complimenting
me. I ignored it at first. But as the game progressed it became overbearing
for me and I felt violated. I told him to stop and he started to play
aggressively but later touched me again. I lost it and I yelled at him. I asked if he was gay and insulted him and
told him to quit touching me. He laughed and told me he had feelings for
me and proceeded to touch my stomach. At that moment it was like a fuse blew in
my brain. I punched him, pushed him into the wall
and swung him head first into the street. I remember breaking his glasses and gashing
his face in. A part of me believed it was self defense
while another part of me couldn’t believe that I actually hurt someone I knew to that
extent. I then started high school with an anti-social mindset. I was a book nerd. Always organized and often kept to myself. The school bullies quickly picked up on that
and I became a target for them. They would call me gay and yell derogatory
terms like faggot and stupid fairy in the halls. It escalated to the point where no one would
want to be around me and I became an outcast. My classmates would secretly ask me if I was
gay. I always told them no but I knew they didn’t
believe me. Not long after I started college and felt like this was a chance for me to break out
of my shell. I was happy that high school was over and
that I could move away from all the negativity and start fresh. A few months later I joined theatre class
and it was there that I was exposed to many talented people. Many of them were gay and bisexual so at
first I was hesitant. I was still scared of gay people and confused. As time went by and we worked together I started
to become more open minded and made some great friendships in theatre class. My first close friend I made was gay. He was super kind and made me feel like
family. It was almost surreal. I had a gay friend. Later on in my college years, I had an experience
with a gay college professor. He made me feel comfortable in my own skin
and always believed that I could do anything. I always suffered from low self esteem and
felt ashamed of my height. Then one time he stopped me and told me
something that always stuck with me up until this day. He said, “You look real and you’re great
just as you are and that’s what art and theatre needs.” It was a line that gave me a whole new prospective
on life and gave me the confidence I needed. All of this made me think back to the days
of me being immature and inconsiderate of people’s feelings. I wonder how my old friend feels now and
I hope I haven’t affected him in a negative way and I hope he forgives me. The hate I had wasn’t me. It was just a by-product of what was around
me. I got a taste of what it felt like to be
treated differently in high school and often wonder if I wasn’t picked on would I have
changed my views on gays. In a way I’m thankful for my high school
days because it truly did open my eyes to what gays go through on a daily basis. Now I’m an aspiring actor with a great
You Tube following and I’m going to keep working hard and chase my dreams with no hate
in my heart. It feels liberating. We see hate all the time in this world and
it seems like a common path. So let’s pull away from that and move towards
less hatred.

David Frank