-public/media relations experience
That’s gay. A boy staggered around the corner from two inmates during my 7th grade field trip to the county prison. In-between maniacal laughs, the weight-lifting convicts said they suddenly caught something called jungle fever and wanted to rip into my frantic, effeminate classmate, Cleveland. Instead of being consoled by the rest of our pre-law middle school class, the boy was ridiculed. I wanted to demystify the rumors of pedophilia and rape, but I didn’t know enough of the truth. I didn’t know myself.
In college, my identities compounded and included the label queer. My first relationship was abusive, but I refused to tell my parents, British-Jamaican parents who played songs about burning gays. Within a week of dating, my dorm room degraded into a daily warzone. Things not chucked at me were dismantled some other way. For three months, I thought it my amercement to pay for being bisexual.
After winter break at home, I came out to my mother during our 5-hour drive back to campus. We arrived holding hands. Her unconditional love canopied me from further affliction.
With my family buttress I have coordinated pride programs for the youth, researched on LGBTQ rights in Florida, Georgia, Japan, Hawaii and Korea.
The recent bully-induced suicides reaffirm that not all children have such support groups and often have to go through abuse and illnesses like HIV alone. I feel more empowered than ever to make a change in my community and see a career in public interest law as the logical next step.
Thanks in advance!