By Erin Lowe and Lauren Mugavin
Senior Evan Cain is one of many homosexual students who attend this school. He said he revealed his homosexual preferences to the public when he was a freshman. According to Cain, it wasn’t hard to “come out,” and when he confided his decision to his friend, she wasn’t surprised, he said.
And that friend’s reaction, according to a recent national survey from Harris Interactive, is becoming the norm. The survey shows that 87 percent of heterosexuals would react positively or neutral if someone were to come out to them, and it wouldn’t change the way they saw homosexuals.
“It was definitely easier to come out due to the social environment of today,” Cain said. “I think people and teens are more accepting of gays today.”
Counselor Kris Hartman had a slightly different view, though. “I do think there is more of a tolerance, but not an acceptance,” she said. “I don’t know if people necessarily accept on the large scale. And I don’t think the U.S has a high tolerance. Some areas have more tolerance, but others have little. It depends on where. Other countries have a bigger tolerance.”
Still, Hartman said “coming out” in order to be honest is a good policy, regardless of surveys or polls. “It’s healthy to be who you are. Hiding who you are can be very painful,” she said.
Also according to the same Harris Interactive survey, two out of three heterosexual adults agreed that if someone they knew was gay or lesbian, they’d want the individual to be open about it.
When reacting to a person coming out, Hartman said, “The best way is to remember they are the same person they were before they told. Offer your support and be there for them.”
Even though it was easy for Cain to reveal his sexual preference, he said a few of his family members who were also homosexuals had a harder time dealing with people’s reactions. “They were basically banned from the family because they were gay,” Cain said.
For Cain, teasing was part of his middle school life, but when he came out to the public in high school, people stopped making fun of him. “I think they stopped because they decided there wasn’t anything to make fun of,” Cain said.