Thursday, June 08, 2006

My Interview With Chad King, Prom King, Great Guy from Southern California

Hey blogger friends, happy Thursday to everyone. Today, I am going to bring you the first half of my interview with Chad King, the Southern California, openly out, high school Senior, that was crowned Prom King. Because the interview is a bit lengthy, I am going to break it down into two parts over today and tomorrow. I will also be posting it in it's entirety on the next website update.
The first thing that strikes me about Chad, over our course of back and forth emails, is how nice a person he is and how unnafected a person in general he is. He is quite prompt and courteous to me a stranger, asking about his life, and seems genuinely concerned that all of this is a great big deal over nothing. Of course, in a perfect world, it would be, but in a time where we are debating over ammending the constitution with discrimination, and some whacko religious cults can yell "God Hates Fags", at funerals of our nations heroes who went to war without cause, the fact that an openly gay person in the extreme peer pressure situation that is high school, can not only thrive, but represent his student body as Prom King, is a big deal.

In this first part of the interview, I am going to talk about how Chad began to realize his sexual orientation and how that was handled in his family and in school. Tomorrow, I will go into being crowned Prom King, and his thoughts on the whole matter. So here blogger friends is part one of an interview with Chad King, high school senior, and personal hero to me and I am sure to many GLBT youth and young adults everywhere.

First some background. How old are you? Where did you grow up?
I just turned 18 in April. I was born and raised in Fountain Valley, CA until I was 8 years old, when I moved to Murrieta, CA. Essentially I grew up here as a result.

How long have you known you were gay? How did those feelings come about?
I think I officially knew around middle school--seventh grade. I just started noticing that I had an odd attraction to this (really hot, buff) guy that had the locker next to me, and always tried to get away with watching him dress. Then I realized I was watching the guys in the straight porn I had discovered on the internet, not the girls. Finally, once, in the middle of masturbating, I caught myself fantasizing about the guy with the locker next to me, and I figured I must be gay. =P

Who was the first person you told you were gay?
The first person I ever admitted to that I was gay was my younger brother. It was the summer of my Freshman year, and we were staying at my great-grandmother's house for a few days. We were sharing a bed, and we were just chit-chatting before falling asleep, and he flat out asked me if I was gay. I froze, and then he continued, "I just wanna know--I don't care, and I still love you-- I just wanna know." Because I knew I could trust him and that he would still love me, I admitted it to him.

How did you tell your parents, what was their initial reaction?
My dad found out by viewing the "history" on the internet. My mom learned it from him because by the time I actually had stated, "I'm gay," she had already known for a while. Their reactions were very positive. My mom's brother and sister are homosexual, so I always knew she wouldn't mind it at all. My dad's only concern was that I knew he would be there to kick the crap out of anyone who tried to harrass me. So I have been very lucky to have such wonderful, understanding parents as they are.

I read you were living as an "out" student since your sophomore year. How did that come about that you came out then? Did you initiate it, or did someone else force or accidentally out you?
I told a few of my close friends at school once I knew I had my family's backing. Because I received so much support, and ironically less harrassment once I was open about it, I told a few more people--mostly girl friends at first. Then they would obviously tell people about me (no one can keep a secret, and I knew that it would get out once I told people.) And so, by the end of Sophomore year it was generally something that would get brought up in conversation when people talked about me. (i.e. Do u know Chad King? I think so, he's the gay kid, right?) So instead of hiding from it, or denying anything, I became very outgoing--I joined Drama and Mock Trial my Sophomore year (I had already began swimming the previous year), and was very candid about it if people had questions. That's something I attribute to my being so accepted at school: everytime one of my friends had a question about my orientation, I always answered it to the best of my knowledge and was very open and up-front with everyone. In this way, my friends learned that I was just like them, only gay, and also they could explain to their friends about me, if they had concerns. And, people's prejudices and stereotypes were halted by learning information that they hadn't known before. (you get what i mean, right? People weren't picking on me because they understood what made me me, and that it isn't a choice to be gay, and that not all gay people have AIDS, and they learned that all those crazy rumors are just that--rumors.) So I only helped them understand gay people better is all.

How has the reaction at school been? Obviously, it is going pretty well to be crowned Prom King, but was there acceptance at the start by most, did it take a long time, was there any significant event that happened that made you feel accepted at school?
Before I was out, I would occassionally get picked on--only namecalling though. Typical stuff, "You're a fag" "Don't be such a pussy," or they'd make fun of me for my more feminine habits....like NOT enjoying the testosterone fests that seem to emerge when straight men gather in a lockerroom (you know, like towel whippings, and guy talk, and typical stuff that the gays don't usually associate with =P ). However, once I was out and open, I can't recall having one hateful word uttered to me--maybe and probably behind my back--but not to my face like it used to be. In fact, the only discriminatory thing to ever have happened was during my Junior year, I developed a crush on a (straight) football player... well I knew he was straight, and wasn't going to pursue anything--I just thought he was hot! well, it got around to him that a gay guy liked him, and his teammates were making fun of him. So I guess he told his parents about it, and they called the school, AND they also took the time to file a restraining order against me claiming I was stalking him (lol, does it sound like I'm still bitter and resentful, cuz I am!) because I had a class in a room right above him and would see him occassionally while he was walking to class (I never approached, talked to, or gestured at him though! EVER!) Anyway, the school pulled up my myspace and said that legally there was sufficient evidence on it to grant him the restraining order, but his family would revoke it if I took off the blog I had on my myspace about me having a crush on "number 47" on the football team, and stopped "harrassing him" (which I wasn't doing to begin with--that was his friends' doing.) But yea, other than that one incident, I have had a flawless highschool experience. People have always been accepting of me--probably cuz I'm nice, funny, and very outgoing aside from being gay. In fact, even with people talking about my orientation Sophomore year, I was still elected Winter Formal Prince that year. (the "significant event that happened that made me feel accepted at school")

Tell me about the "diversity forums" that were mentioned in the newspaper article. How do those work? How often are they done? Did you go to them? Did you feel they covered diversity well?
Basically, we have a club on campus, P.A.L.S. (Peer Assisted Leadership Support, or something like that, I can check it if you need me to) that put on "Unity Forums." Typically they have a "theme," like I know they have had a guys-only forums, and once there was one between the GSA and the Student Venture (Gay-Straight Alliance, and Christian club). What happens is, they pull you out of class on an assigned day (you're pre-selected based on a teacher nomination [if they think u need some diversity education] or what clubs u belong to, or general knowledge that the kids in PALS know you possess that would be beneficial to the Forum), and bring you to the library.

Once there, you get a nametag with a certain color marked on it as well. They send the whole group of about 75 kids into an area, and everyone plays diversity games (For example, one game is a musical-chairs twist that has the person left without a seat say something about themselves that they think ONLY they have or do or w/e.. For example, if I was left without a chair, I could say, "My parents are still together" "I have a dog" "I love Chemistry" "I'm gay" and so then everyone who shares the same trait that u mention,stands up and moves to a different chair. Basically it shows everyone how similar we are, or that u have somethign in common with everyone.) After a while of playing these games to break the ice, they seperate you into groups based on the color of your nametag. From there, a PALS leader is assigned to each group and moderates and monitors conversations around topics that group members want to talk about (like they ask us "what are some topics concerning the campus right now? Racism? drugs? sex? what do u wanna talk about?") So the diversity comes into play b/c each group has at least two representative members from each club on campus or whatever... like, there will be two Black Student Union members, two GSA students, two Pan-Asian club members, two Student Venture kids... or w/e. and we basically discuss what we feel about topics while maintaining respect for eachother and eachother's beliefs. At the end, they group us all together again and we all talk about what we discussed and can ask questions about anything w/out feeling stupid for asking (i.e. some kid once asked, "why do black people go around calling themselves Niggers? Why don't you guys consider that derogatory to yourselves??") so essentially we learn about how similar we all are and how our differences make us great. We learn to celebrate diversity. I have been to (I think) 3, and I feel they cover diversty extremely well.


What activities have you participated in school?
umm, EVERYTHING:
Mock Trial, Drama, yearbook, Swim, Dance Production, Prom Fashion Show, Talent show (host), lunchtime activities, I also do a lot of after school stuff like decorating the Homecoming floats, attending EVERY sporting event....I do everything. and I meet as many people as possible---I can literally have lunch at any table on campus and make friends with or already know half the kids sitting there, just because I'm so involved and know so many people. I have a few friends from every highschool stereotypical clique. =P



And that readers, lets you know about the kind of guy Chad is so far. I hope you can tell by his answers, that he is very bright, mature, and has a casual ease about himself. Tomorrow, I will finish this interview with Chad, and talk about being crowned Prom King, the reaction to it, and his plans after high school. Hope you have enjoyed this little glimpse into this amazing young man. I will be skipping "In the News" today, due to the interview, and will do a week wrap-up on Saturdays blog.
....Have a good one..........GG

2 comments:

SoCalGal

Wow! What an incredible young man Chad is...compassionate, involved, well-spoken...how proud his family and friends must be. Good for you, Chad! I just came back from my nephew's year end party at Tovashal (sound familiar Chad? ;)) and in looking at these adorable 1st graders, I am filled with the hope that their young, impressionable minds grow into ones just like Chad's and those of his fellow classmates...minds filled with openness, understanding, compassion, and above all LOVE. Thanks for pursuing the interview, GG. I look forward to the second part. :)

WAT

He is just adorable.

Plain and simple.

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