The student news site of Brookline High School

B-block: Telling our stories

April 30, 2016

During the B-block “Telling Our Stories” assembly, moderated by sophomore Isabel Wexler and junior Sara Hogenboom, seven students spoke about their experiences identifying as a part of the LGBTQ community.

Senior Jerilyn McLean began the day with her speech about being gay. She emphasized how she disliked how people thought being gay was the only thing that defined her and the “incessant misconceptions” about her identity. McLean also expressed discontent with trying to mold herself into a more feminine character.

“You are so much more than what people tell you you are,” McLean said, leaving the thought with her peers at the end of her speech.

Junior Eli Levin, who identifies as pansexual and genderfluid, followed with a speech about a time that hu was turned away from the men’s dressing room when trying on a blazer at a clothing store.

After Levin, senior Julianna Yue spoke, who identifies as asexual and panromantic. She spoke about asexuals’ voices being widely unheard and her frustration at society labeling people as straight from the start of their lives.

Freshman Richard Lee followed with his story about coming out as gay to a friend over text message, and getting the courage to click the “send” button.

Junior Sam Pollak spoke fifth, delivering a letter to the audience entitled, “Dear straight people, Microaggressions 101” that he said was intended to make one feel uncomfortable. His speech, which expressed frustration and honesty, elicited laughter from the audience with its light mood.

“Dear straight boys, I get it. You’re straight,” Pollak repeated. “Me asking for the history homework isn’t me trying to flirt with you.”

Through a metaphor, Pollak described how microaggressions were harmful. According to Pollak, microaggressions are like papercuts; one won’t hurt you, but when your whole body is covered in them, you can’t move.

Junior KeiAntey Gamble spoke about her experience coming out as bisexual and how it hurt her relationship with some of the people she was close to. She gave advice to other people struggling to come out: talk to someone, and be confident and secure.

“No matter how hard it is to speak up and tell your story, you must find a way to do so,” Gamble said.

The final speaker was junior Travis Morgan, who identifies as bisexual and gender fluid. Morgan spoke about how they, as an avid football player, defied stereotypes about gender and sexuality. They ended the assembly with a message that helped to unify the many people in the room.

“You are all normal,” Morgan said.

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