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

Young, out, and on the Air

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

Young, out, and on the Air

Article excerpt

Gay student Brad lets it all hang out, spending a school year before the cameras on reality show American High

Unlike many gay teenagers, recent high school graduate Brad has nothing to hide--especially since he just spent his senior year with a camera crew recording practically his every move. Brad, 18, is one of a group of Highland Park, Ill., high school students featured on American High, a more-real Real World, which began airing on Fox beginning August 2. The documentary follows their conflicts--both at home and school--yet unlike other reality-based programs, nothing is staged, and some footage is shot by the students, who were given cameras.

Lack of privacy may intimidate some, but not Brad, who confesses that his apprehension dissipated after watching The War Room, the Oscar-nominated doc produced by American High creator R.J. Cutler, a film Brad deems "full of integrity." (Cutler returns the compliment, saying Brad was chosen for being "incredibly articulate about being a teenager right now.") Brad wanted to go public because, he says, "I had a lot to say and realized this was a great outlet."

Brad doesn't come out on-camera: He realized he was gay during his freshman year, and two years later he admitted it to others during what he now sardonically dubs "the 48-hour period." After missing a week of school, he told his family and his best friend, Robbie, the school's star jock, on a Friday night. Brad recalls, "By Monday, everyone at school knew. …

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