Closeted Tweets
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    '' 55 years ago


Uzoma wasn’t allowed to date when she was in high school. Her parents, immigrants from Nigeria, were strict about how Uzoma and her four siblings spent their time outside of class.

“We were raised with specific values and an understanding of our culture. Our parents didn’t feel it was appropriate for high school kids to date, so we did not date,” says Uzoma.

This rule didn’t affect Uzoma’s enjoyment of high school. She graduated form St. Norbert Collegiate in 2002 near the top of her class, academically and socially.

“I was an elite athlete and an academic. I was really involved in student council—high school president and all that jazz. For the most part, high school was great.

Uzoma says deep down she knew she was gay in high school but didn’t connect with her sexuality until after she graduated.

“I really and truly was not one of those super horny teenage kids, I was committed to studying and sports and volunteering.

As you watch your peers date and fall in love I was never really able to relate because I always felt like an outsider in that way. Unconsciously, there was an aspect of who I was that I didn’t feel comfortable sharing with other people.”

Uzoma says she wasn’t aware of any resources at her school for LGBT teens, and believes her high school would have been especially difficult for gay and lesbian students interested in exploring their sexuality.

“My school had a very, very basic, narrow sex education.

I can’t imagine what it would have been like for other students who either had gender identity issues or questions about sexual orientation.

Just the fact that educators are being educated about LGBT issues is completely different than when I was in high school.”

Uzoma has returned to her high school since graduating to help coach basketball teams. She says former instructors have asked her about her decision to stay quite about her sexuality.

“They knew before I came out to them. They had already heard. They said where did I fail you? What was it about me that you felt like you couldn’t tell me you were gay?

I think that if I had come out, I would have been met with more acceptance than anything,”

Uzoma hopes LGBT students in high school have an easier time connecting with their sexuality.

“Do it when you’re are ready. Don’t allow anyone or anything to pressure you into making a decision that you aren’t comfortable with. Establish supports, recognize and surround yourself with the people that love you unconditionally.”

That slogan it gets better is really so true.”