August 7, 2010

Magda, Age 17, Brooklyn, NY

I was born in Poland, and I’ve lived in Williamsburg most of my life. There used to be nothing here but factories. I used to hate it. But now there’s so much going on, I don’t want to leave for college next year.

I’m going to Poland this summer to stay with family for six weeks. I definitely won’t tell them I’m gay. Poland is one of those places being gay is really not tolerated. My mom’s really cool about it though.

I came out to myself my sophomore year, and to my mom recently, two months ago. I wasn’t really worried about telling her because I knew she’d accept me. But I just didn’t feel like I needed to tell her before that.

I do Junior ROTC after school. I have two uniforms, the regular one and the camouflage one. They had JROTC at my school, and I always saw them in uniforms. And I’ve always loved uniforms. All the sergeants want me to join the army, but I don’t want to. Mostly because, can’t you get kicked out if you’re gay? That would be kind of bad. And I don’t want to serve. I kind of like living. All the sergeants know I’m gay, indirectly. They joke around about it, but they love me so they don’t care.

I’m one of the team leaders. I can do 80 push-ups in two minutes and run two miles in 13 minutes. I don’t want to brag but, you know, that’s pretty good. I also play basketball, and this year the soccer team wants me. I like basketball. It’s fast paced and I’m good at it.

When I’m not in my uniform, I’ve always dressed in boyish, baggy clothes. My mom used to dress me like that when I was a kid, even. It’s my comfort zone.

I love high school. It’s awesome. Everyone at school is accepting. I go to a big school with 4,000 people. It’s overcrowded. There’s a lot of diversity, so there’s a lot of gay people I guess, but there’s a lot of everything. I have a lot of friends. And the thing with me is I flirt with everyone, I don’t know if they’re gay or not.

As told to Diana Scholl.
Photo by Laurel Golio, taken in Brooklyn, NY.
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