BY: Nick Brown, Ionia High School
“Being a young male that’s in love with other boys is such a surreal feeling to have. Listening to Bruno Mars sing ‘Girl you’re amazing, just the way you are’ and trying to imagine myself as the female he’s serenading, watching Jack hold Rosie on the Titanic and envisioning me in his arms rather than her. It’s very alienating,” I tell the reporter.
The room that I’m in is completely illuminated by the cameras that hover like spaceships over my head. There are three chairs: One for me, one for the reporter, and one for the reporter’s coat. An exit sign shines above a lone door in the back of the room, baiting me, calling my name. I look to the reporter with a dreadful anticipation for his next question.
“You grew to fame by coming out to the entire world rather abruptly on your television show. Do you regret making this choice and the struggles it has brought you?” he asks with a certain look on his face that I can’t quite put a name to, maybe intrigue.
“I haven’t regretted it for a second. LGBT youth deserve to know that they aren’t alone in what they’re feeling. I hope to be the voice for them in a world where no one speaks the truth. I’m only seventeen now, and still trying to figure things out for myself, so I really relate to the kids out there that don’t really know what to do. All I’ve known my whole life is acting for my television show, which is going into its eighth season now. The directors had always shoved me into heterosexual roles and I’d had enough of it. That’s why I kissed Ryan on set instead of Becca. Ryan and I knew that the cameras broadcast live, so we planned it out for that specific scene, when we were all on the same set at the same time. We needed it to be then, so that it was important.”
The reporter looks at me then with an expression of complete and utter awe. Anyone else that has interviewed me in these past weeks since that day on set has looked almost disgusted with me. Not this one though. This man looks entranced. He takes a deep breath and asks, “Why do you think that that particular scene on set was more important than others?”
“I needed to make a statement. There’s a lot of hurt in this world that would be gone if only people opened their eyes to the beauty around them. Becca was in on the plan, and Ryan and I had been secretly seeing each other for about three months, so it wasn’t like they were caught by surprise. They knew that something had to be done. A fifteen year old girl had jumped off of the building just across the street from the studio two days prior to the kiss on set. Her name was Alexis Kittering, and her parents had recently evicted her for being gay. She decided that ending the pain would be easier than seeking help. That really set a fire underneath me. Her parents were, pardon my insensitivity, dumb enough to believe that their daughter was some nameless inhuman object that could be thrown away. That wasn’t the case at all. She was a girl in pain, and her name was Alexis.”
The reporter looks completely speechless, but he had one more question for me: “So your kiss on set was a symbol for acceptance?”
“That’s exactly what it was. Ignorance is dangerous. It’s costing people their lives, their happiness. When I kissed Ryan on set I told the world, ‘I’m different, and that’s okay. You aren’t alone.’ I want the human race to accept and love people for their beautiful souls, not turn them into soulless shells of themselves. To not be educated on an important issue our world is facing is to be Death personified. My wish to everyone watching this interview is this: Educate yourselves. Be the change in your community, in the world. Reach out to your neighbors that are being shunned as the minority. You might just save a life.”
“Brian Edmonson, thank you for being with us today. From OUTREACH News, I’m Jim Holloway; Goodnight, America.”
The lights dim and Mr. Holloway looks down at his feet, then up at me. I can see tears in his eyes, an unexplainable emotion expressed on his face. “Last week, my son came out to me. I didn’t know what to do, and to be honest, I was quite disappointed. Hearing you tell that story set my soul free. I love my son no matter what, and I need to go home and tell him that. I seriously can’t tell you how thankful I am, Mr. Edmonson.”
“Please,” I say as my heart fills with bliss, “don’t hurt yourself over how you reacted. Show your son what he means to you and all will be well.”
Mr. Holloway gets up to leave the studio, but I have one last thing to say. “Mr. Holloway?” I call to him.
“Yes?” he replies, with anxiety you can feel in the air.
“If you need any help, you know where to find me. Go to the studio and ask for Brian. I’ll be there in a heartbeat.” Mr. Holloway smiles, takes his coat from a lone chair, and exits through the back of the building with a swift stride of confidence. God only knows that he’ll need it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nick Brown does it again. As a sophomore at Ionia High School, Nick loves to write and hopes that his pieces connect to teenagers that may be experiencing the issues he presents in his work. This is his second published piece by MIteen Writers where he also serves as an editor.