Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Outspoken: Jessie Liberatore

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Outspoken: Jessie Liberatore

Article excerpt

Life is hard. Adults tell us we can achieve anything we desire. Eventually, though, we learn we must fight for it.

It did not surprise me that t faced prejudice as a young lesbian in my conservative small-town high school in Maryland. Aware some people would dislike me as I began advocating for lesbian and gay equality, I prepared for rejection. But I was not prepared to be talked down to by adults as if my 16 years of rocky life were too few to know about myself.

One such adult was my Spanish teacher, Mrs. Armstrong. I respected her. She made learning easy. Then I talked to her about the Day of Silence--a day in which students across the country take a vow of silence to acknowledge the discrimination gay people face. That is the day she lost my respect.

Mrs. Armstrong locked the classroom door and took me to the back, away from the window. She yelled about how the Day of Silence was unnecessary, especially in her classroom, because there was "no discrimination. …

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