Queer Student Profile

Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay Students Share Experiences

More stories from Ellen Garrett

Queer Student Profile


From preparing to move from Colorado to Kansas to realizing he was gay, junior Irvin Zamora Galvan had an eighth grade year full of changes. Shortly after this self discovery, Zamora Galvan came out of the closet to his school.

“In Colorado it was just like ‘It’s eighth grade, I’m gonna move, why not just tell them who I am’. Then I moved here my freshman year and I didn’t know anyone around here, and then I met some people and they just kind of knew,” Zamora Galvan said.

According to ReachOut.org, discovering your sexuality can be difficult and confusing. However, many people realize they are gay after dating people of the opposite sex, something that allowed Zamora Galvan to question his sexuality.

“I dated girls in my middle school years. I was just like ‘I don’t think that’s the way to go’. I liked them, just not like that,” Zamora Galvan said.

After coming out, Zamora Galvan faced pushback from peers at his middle school in Colorado. Although, this situation changed upon moving to Newton.

“I did lose a lot of friends in middle school, but it didn’t really matter because then I moved away. Here I just feel welcome. I have a lot of friends here,” Zamora Galvan said.

Soon after moving to Newton, Zamora Galvan decided to come out to his mom.

“I came out to my mom freshman year. She didn’t really say anything because it’s my life, I’m gonna do whatever,” Zamora Galvan said.

Zamora Galvan meets the challenges that come with being an openly gay teenager by refusing to let them get to him.

“I just ignore people. I do me, I don’t care what anybody says,” Zamora Galvan said.




In 2015, right after eighth grade, senior Serenity Davidson began noticing something that differentiated herself from other people she knew.

“I realized the summer I came out, I got big feels for a girl. I always knew something was off and I always knew I had an attraction to girls,” Davidson said.

After discovering that she was bisexual, Davidson soon came out of the closet to her parents and was met with a positive reaction.

“My mom is bi so she didn’t really care. She just said, ‘Whatever just have fun and be safe’,” Davidson said.

While she had a constructive experience after coming out to her parents, Davidson discovered that the rest of her family was more divisive on the issue.

“When I told my mom she told me not to tell my grandpa because he would disown me,” Davidson said.




Fifth grade signifies many things: the beginning of middle school, the transition from child to teen and for sophomore Acacia Penner, the year that she realized she was a lesbian.

Although she would eventually tell her friends her true sexual orientation, she first came out to them as bisexual.

“I did like girls but I also thought I liked guys. I already had a good understanding of everything,” Penner said.

According to Adrienne Rich, author of Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence, the mandates of a heteronormative society makes it difficult for women to realize that they may not be attracted to men. Because of this, in eighth grade, Penner had a second realization: she was a lesbian, not bisexual.

“I realized that I never really liked any boys, I just thought I did because everyone was saying ‘You have to like boys’,” Penner said.

About a year after seeing her true sexuality, Penner decided to come out to her parents, and extended family.

“I just kind of said, ‘Hey, I’m gay’. They took it well,” Penner said. “I have a few other LGBTQ family members and they’re fine with it too.”