August 25, 2007

Dear friend,
So my first half-week of the tenth grade is officially in the books. Whoever decided to start the first week of school on a Wednesday was a genius, because I don't know if I could have made it another two days without a break. Not that the new school is necessarily bad; it's just that there's been so much new the past few days that I'm exhausted from taking it all in.

My mom took me to get a couple of nicer outfits on Wednesday night like I said, and while I'm still not exactly the most popular guy in school, people have started saying "hi" to me in the hallways and haven't been ignoring me as much. Some kids even sat next to me at lunch yesterday. I didn't say much and they didn't say much to me, but the gesture was certainly appreciated.

Plus, there is hope for the future. After lunch yesterday, there was an assembly that all new students had to attend, and there was a lot of boring talk about dress code and behavior expectations and whatnot. I think that I was the only junior there, and jeez, are there a lot of freshmen. Loud, obnoxious, immature freshmen. I wonder if I acted so poorly when I was in ninth grade? It was only a couple of years ago, and I don't think that I've changed that much since then, so I doubt it. At least, I really, really hope that I didn't. But I digress.

Toward the end of the assembly, the – well, I'm not sure what she was, exactly, but somebody – got on-stage and talked about all the different clubs, organizations, and activities that are available to the students through the school. The primary focus was on athletics, of course, since it's pay-to-play and the more kids that play sports, the more money the school gets for them, but there are a lot of other free clubs, too, that meet either after school or during some free time during the school day. Chess club, math club, Future Educators of get the picture. There wasn't much of interest to me, until, while reading off the list of all the clubs – there's something like 28 of them – the lady on-stage said three words that caught my attention: gay-straight alliance.

Unfortunately, she didn't go into detail about any of the non-athletic clubs, and I really wish that she had because I had no idea what a gay-straight alliance was. So when I got home from school, I looked it up on the Internet, and apparently a gay-straight alliance is a club where students of all sexualities meet and talk about issues concerning the LGBT – that's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender – community. They organize political rallies and alternative events for gay students and "straight allies", straight students who support the LGBT community, to foster understanding about alternative sexualities and dispel the myths and stereotypes surrounding them.

Why in the hell didn't my old school have something like this? Maybe my life would be totally different right now if the kids there knew anything about what being gay was really like, and that it didn't make me any different a person than what I always had been. Of course, it's easy for me to say that now, but I think that all schools should have a gay-straight alliance. Only good can come from an organization that focuses on understanding and unity, right?

So anyway, the little pamphlet that they passed out during the assembly says that the Rainbow Raptors – that's what they call the gay-straight alliance at my school, which is absolutely ridiculous – meets on Tuesdays during lunch in the third floor lounge room. I'm guessing that we are allowed to go get our lunch from the cafeteria and take it up to the meeting, but even if we had to skip eating, it wouldn't matter; I am going to be there.

I told my parents that I was going to be joining an extra-curricular club and they were really happy about it. I didn't tell them which club, of course, but the specifics aren't really important. I just want them to feel like I'm fitting into my new environment, even if I'm not just yet.

Sincerely yours,