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This I Believe Essay by Trevor Sell

Trevor is a senior at Benton Central High School.

Trevor will be attending Indiana University Bloomington in the coming fall where he plans to study contemporary and modern dance and go on to be a traveling choreographer. He has been dancing for only 1 1/2 years and has fallen in love.

This is his essay entitled, "Out - but Not Gone"

I spent sixteen years hidden in the dark—in shadows away from the sweltering sun. My time there was exactly how you would expect—lonely, depressive, and detached. There was a mirror surrounding me, and I was scared being stuck in this body that did not belong in Benton County.

I spent sixteen years with a drowning amount of “what if’s” that flooded my brain. “What if they don’t accept me?” “What if I do it too soon?” I knew these questions were inevitable. In a world of so-called “love” and “compassion,” plenty of hatred exists for those not fitting the mold, especially in a county of traditionalists who refuse to open their eyes and realize a world beyond their own—one where people accept everyone for who they are no matter color, gender, and . . . no matter their sexuality.

On July 13, 2018, I broke down my glass wall. I stepped out into the sweltering sun. I told the world who I was—whether they accepted me or not. I told them that my sexuality was not like theirs. In those nearly two and one-half years, I have felt more free than I could have ever imagined. People are more loving than ever, and best of all, I do not have to hide. Gone are the days where I shudder at the thought of not being like everyone else. In this century, we should be able to stand up and be who we were born to be. Do what we were born to do. And most importantly, be our whole selves, and not that self you think everyone else wants. This, I believe— because in a community of conservatives, a few gems do exist who make the sweltering sun just a little less harsh.