Growing up LGBT

Nia Embry, Editor

With highschool, students are constantly reminded about their futures and what they want to be for the rest of their life. But, there are also people who may be having a hard time with accepting who they are or finding their true selves. 

Mrs. Stacy Butler is a teacher here at Parkview. She teaches Forensics, Microbiology, and Chemistry. She is a lesbian from a conservative town in East Tennasee “a place that was ninety percent or greater white, Christian, Conservative,” as she describes it .  She is married and has been with her current wife for eight years and married for four of those years. She states that, “The first time that I realized that that was who I am was around the high school age”. Butler emphasizes that “I was not comfortable with what I was feeling because I did not know anyone who had a similar experience”. “When you grow up being told that something is normal, that is what everyone should adhere to, what you’re experiencing is  something different, you don’t know where that’s coming from or something you should be ashamed of.” 

Having someone to look up to or at least help guide you in the right direction is always helpful. Butler says, “It’s good to have role models of people that you can look up to, and I did not have any of that at that time. It took a long time for me to be able to accept the truth about myself as it was being introduced to me.” 

On the road to discovering oneself, it is possible that obstacles will appear and the road will become difficult to go through. Parents are a comfort for many and how they provide answers to questions that the youth are curious about. Butler says, “I did not come out to my parents until I was an adult, even after a short term relationship I had in high school, I did not get romantically involved with another female until I was an adult. I tried to push my identity aside and live a life that was not true to who I am. The relationships that I was in during that time were all males and I was miserable because I was not being authentic to myself. I had then made a decision that I was not going to keep living a lie. And once I had made that decision, everything fell into place. When finally being able to accept oneself, it can be difficult to have those who are surrounding, to be able to accept the same way. 

With being apart of the LBTQ+ or identifying with them, there has been distaste and hate from many. Butler says, “As an adult, I have experienced that hate. In public, I would get glares or snide remarks about being with another woman. It was not physical aggression, mostly things that were verbal. For example, said under their breath or to my face. Those kinds of things do not bother me anymore so I just let it go. I do my best to stick up for others because I did not have an advocate for when I was a teenager and I would like to stick up for people now”. With the LGBTQ+, when some first come out, they are accepted. There are still those present that do receive negative backlash as a result of coming out. “My heart breaks for teenagers who experience getting disowned or kicked out of the house because you don’t really have the freedom to really go out and get your own place. It is extraordinarily detrimental to teenagers that live in an environment where they feel like their whole identity is looked down upon by their parents, and when they get ostracized by their home, their parents, or their church. I think a lot of times, that those people who are against it are not meaning to be malicious when they do but the outcome is still the same, it is very harmful to those on the receiving end. All of a sudden the day before they were someone they loved and cherished and now the next day there is something fundamentally flawed over a religious belief or a cultural belief, or someone’s own prejudices or biases’.