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Hey, My Name is Shaquan and I Am Gay

by Trevor Laing

Hey. My name is Shaquan and I am gay. Society today has improved in terms of how gay people are treated versus the past. But my family still lives in the dark ages. Ever since I was younger, I always knew that I was different. I did not really understand why back then, but I knew for sure that I was.

The way I walked and the way I talked was different. I tried hiding the curse that had been cast on me but it was impossible. Have you ever tried going a day without walking? How am I supposed to do that? Luckily gay people do not face the same problems that I faced back then. But we still face issues that are hard to fix. And in some ways, things are harder now. How can we fix problems when some people do not even believe that the problems exist. I am the proof that these issues still affect people. Hopefully me sharing my story and experiences will help someone else that might be in need.

The problem that I had with my family is that they targeted gay people. They viewed us in every stereotypical way possible. There is no explanation for their hatred toward gay people. Fixing a problem like that is pretty hard since there is no root issue to address– at least not one that I can see.

It’s like it has been programed into their minds to think this way. They have been programed by society. Not new society but old society. I try to understand the fact that most of my family is from an older generation. So that old way of thinking still runs strong through their veins. If I can understand where they are coming from in terms of how they think, then why can’t they seem to understand me or even try to. Deep down, I know that my family knows the truth about me. But I also know that they’d be furious if I ever came out. They just don’t want me to openly be myself.

Commentary by Bernice Arricale

Every family is a tent unto itself and we each want desperately to be cherished within that tent. Shaquan says that he knows his family “knows the truth” about his homosexuality and it seems that he is still welcomed into the tent. It is impossible to know what would happen if Shaquan came out to his family, but what could happen if he does not? Remember Man to Man?