I wish that every time we heard another horrible story about a gay teen who was bullied to the point of suicide or kidnapped in the night and sent to a behavior modification "boot camp" we could immediately hear about a kid like Scott Heggart. Because Heggart's story is proof that it really can, and really does, get better. And he risked a LOT to prove his point, so the least we can do is listen ... or watch, as the case may be ...
I can't imagine how nerve-wracking it is for any teen to come out, but Heggart's challenge was particularly unique: He was a jock! The Canadian teen played football, basketball, softball and hockey -- and he didn't want to give up any of his favorite sports. So even though Heggart came out to his parents at the age of 15 (they were supportive!), he was afraid to tell his teammates:
"I’d started to understand who I was, what it meant,” he recalled. "The worst thing, from my teammates’ perspective, was to be gay."
Overwhelmed and in need of community, Heggart started documenting his coming out process and posting clips on YouTube -- one every day for an entire year. When he was finally ready to tell his teammates, he felt strong enough to face the consequences -- and guess what? Those "consequences" turned out to be "respect and support."
(Do you get why I wish we could hear a story like this one for every tragedy on the other end of the tolerance spectrum?)
Just watch ...
Can you imagine how many teens facing similar challenges must watch this kid's videos as inspiration? Definition of a role model. (And his parents sound pretty cool, too.)
Do you think Scott Heggart is a role model for gay teens?
Image via big93scott/YouTube