The Best of Dayton Youth Radio: Breaking The Silence
Dayton Youth Radio allows teens to talk about the issues they care about. We hear them trying to figure out what life is all about. In 2016, DeAnte McGlown was a junior at the Dayton Early College Academy. He wrote and recorded an essay called "Breaking the Silence" while he was at school.
Let me tell you a little about myself. I'm 17 years old and a junior in high school. I was born at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. ADHD, ADD. and OCD run in my family. The doctor says I have anger issues, depression, anxiety and severe stress. Sometimes I wonder if these disorders are caused by my living environment.
I live with my mom, younger brother and younger cousin. I never really had a father figure in my life. He was here and there when I was around 4. Then he wasn't. I had another father figure, my godfather, but he wasn't around either.
My story is about being accepted by family members, loved ones, and society, knowing my sexuality and loving myself enough to let the world know.
For this story, I planned on interviewing my mom Lianna. Why did I plan on interviewing my mom? Because she's my mother. She is the reason I am able to breathe and live. She takes care of me. She is my mother and my father. Her opinion matters in my life.
I was going to interview my mother, but it didn't happen, so I only interviewed myself. When I came out, most people were accepting and gave me a sense of relief. Eventually everyone was okay with it except my mom.
At first I didn't really understand why she wasn't okay with me being gay. In my mind, I thought, I'm still your son, I'm still the same kid from years ago, still a part of you. She eventually told me in part of the reason is because she doesn't want me to get hurt. She thinks being a young gay male makes me a target, but what I want to say to her is that I'm still your son and it doesn't feel good when you ignore me.
This has been a heavy burden on me. My mom and I don't see eye to eye about me, and sometimes it's hurtful and it's painful and it causes really bad depression at home.
In the beginning, I didn't have anyone to talk to. I kept this all to myself when I first came out. But eventually I found one person, then another, then more. Some were accepting. Some weren't. Some got over it. Some still don't. I hope that other teens that are listening have the courage to find someone who they can talk to. And if you're not ready to come out, you should at least find one other person that you can talk to. Just one person caring can change everything.
Doing this story made me made me proud to be who I am, whether society, family or loved ones accept me or not. So once again, let me tell you who I am. I am a young African-American, gay male, and I am proud of who I am and I am strong and nobody can tell me otherwise.
This story originally aired in 2016. DeAnte McGlown is a graduate of the Dayton Early College Academy. To learn more about DECA, visit the school's website: http://daytonearlycollege.org/ Special thanks to Anne Rasmussen, Director Community involvement at DECA. Support for Dayton Youth Radio comes from the Virginia W. Kettering Foundation, Ohio Arts Council and the Vectren Foundation.
This story was created at the Eichelberger Center for Community Voices at WYSO.