As I'm sure many of you already know, a Facebook page called UBC Compliments sprung up last fall. There are similar pages for colleges and universities across North America (and probably across the pond, too). The idea is simple - anybody can submit anonymous compliments about anything UBC-related. I was alerted about one submission in particular, which is long, but is a must-read. It's an extraordinary story of transformation, and how environment can have a profound effect on one's sense of self:
To my friends, colleagues, and the UBC community - thank you:
Much of my life has been a struggle over accepting my sexual identity, that I am a gay male. This post is more of an retrospect on how much my life has changed since entering UBC, and I'm very thankful for all the people I've met and the community for changing my life around. My life at UBC is a huge contrast from the life I had before.
I am currently in my final year completing a double major. I came to UBC in 2008 in pretty bad shape, I had been struggling with my gay sexual identity since grade 8 when I first realized I was gay. I was always depressed. And it was particularly difficult as I was attending an all-boys private Catholic school in Vancouver. Yes, you can <insert> the gay jokes here of how being in an all-boys school must have been paradise for any gay guy. Not quite exactly.
There was this tense homophobic atmosphere throughout the school. It was a jock-filled, testosterone-fuelled high school. Students were homophobic, teachers were homophobic. Well, for the most part anyway. I recall homosexuality being discussed in class. Well, it wasn't "discussed." My teachers were straight up telling us it was just plain wrong and evil. In one of my classes, my teacher asked us to raise our hands if they thought homosexuality was wrong. Everyone in our class of 30 did, including myself...gotta follow the crowd. A close friend of mine, who had transferred from public school (and is straight), said it was opposite from where he came from: the same question was asked, and every student had no issue with homosexuality.
Please go read the rest here.