Principal Told Gay Student Not To Come Out In Yearbook

| by Sheena Vasani
Zach SidesZach Sides

A gay student in Maine says his principal refused to allow him to write about "coming out of the closet" in the high school’s yearbook.

Zach Sides explains he wanted his senior year quote to say, "It's no wonder I dress so well, I didn't spend all of my time in the closet for nothing,” WLBZ reports.

Yet the tongue-in-cheek quote was nearly shot down after Penobscot Valley High School principal Carol Marcinku said she found it “personally offensive.”

However, she was later trumped by the school’s superintendent.

"That did not seem inappropriate to me at all … I thought it was in good humor [and] was in good taste," Superintendent Wright said. "What this has done is it has made us look at moving forward our policies and procedures and guidelines for determining yearbook quotes, what gets in and what doesn't."

Still, the incident has left its scars.

"It's what she said and why it couldn't go in the yearbook that really troubles me," Sides said. "I think she meant basically changing my mind about being who I am."

What’s worse, because of the attention the incident caused, the boy was forced to come out to his parents before he was ready to.

"Honestly, I never really wanted to come out. I just wanted to bring home my boyfriend and be like this is who I like and this is who I want to be with and just hope that everyone was okay with it," Sides said.

Yet while he was hurt by the incident, he is trying to keep his head up high.

"I have a lot of support and I have a lot of people who love me and I wouldn't change that for anything," Sides said.

He adds he hopes college will allow him to run into more accepting people.

The move represents just one of many acts of discrimination gay high school students face.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, LGBT youth are twice as likely as their heterosexual peers to have been physically assaulted at school, while nearly half of LGBT young people feel their community does not accept them.

Yet at the same time, the picture is not completely bleak. Studies show 77 percent of LGBT youth hold hope that one day it will get better.

Sources: WLBZHuman Rights Campaign  / Photo credit: WLBZ

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