Unite Virginia recently published a compelling short story about the experiences, questions and confusion that many LGBTQ teenagers and young adults know all to well.
Written by Rev. Jeffrey D. Harris of Baltimore’s Truth and Love Outreach Center, It’s the ‘Q’ in Me tells the story of a teenage boy as he first begins to question his sexuality and fears judgment from those closest to him.
“[This is a] short story that exposures the ‘normal’ life of a 15-year-old African American male who comes from a traditional God fearing family with an acentric style of dress,” Harris says. “But this particular day is not like any other day in his life. The ‘Queer/Questioning’ emotions volcanically erupt in his life and throws him into an emotional downward spiral.”
Jeremy, as the boy is known in Rev. Harris’ story, has become accustomed to stares and violent insults from the “locals” in his East side Baltimore neighborhood. They shout hurtful words like, “gay, fag, queen, pink, sissy or even bottom boy” based solely on his the way he dresses. Jeremy asks himself, “… how can people speak so mean about someone they don’t know?”
One day these words become more than spattering from the “locals.” Jeremy and his good friend Sam chat in the locker room after gym class, a normal occurrence for the two boys. But Jeremy begins to feel something different on this particular day. As Sam dries off with his towel, Jeremy loses all focus.
“All of a sudden I got light-headed and heated as the blood thrust through every vein of my body,” Jeremy recounts. “These emotions were coming from some place which I had no clue! How!? What!? When!? Where!?”
Jeremy makes his way from the locker room in haste only to bombard himself with more questions.
“What does this mean? What will my friends and family think? Does this mean I’m (sigh) gay?” he wonders. “These thoughts are not mine? Why is my psyche playing tricks on me? I AM NOT GAY! I really like the young lady in my science class. She is so beautiful and has a nice body.”
As the story continues, Jeremy wrestles with his emotions as he attempts to answer the questions swirling in his mind. He researches “LGBTQ” on Google. He wonders if he should mention his feelings to his family. With his religious upbringing, he ponders what God will think of him, “Will I go to ‘hell’ as church people say?”
It is Rev. Harris’ hope that sharing “Jeremy’s” story brings attention to the experiences, emotions and questions many teenagers and young adults struggle with daily and starts a dialogue to address these matters. Rather than turning to Google, children need to feel they can talk openly with parents or a trusted adult for the help they need to understand their emotions and answer their questions.
Through his own life experiences, professional service and his work with grassroots organizations, Rev. Harris has seen the spectrum of challenges LGBTQ youth face. He encourages open dialogue between children and parents. If parents aren’t sure how to open the lines of communication, he encourages them to seek assistance to “understand and process the situation.”
“Love our children through this process of their life,” Harris says.
It’s the Q in Me is available on the Unite Virginia website at unitevamag.com/connect/%E2%80%9Chomosexual-%E2%80%9D-no-such-word/. The comment section is open for those who wish to ask questions or share their own stories.
Company Name: BLUE ARTISTS, Publicist
Contact Person: Jeffrey Harris
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Country: United States