by crys tyler
The Queer Spirit of Youth that inspired the work from my book
| From "The Most Popular Freak in School" by Crystal Tyler
GSA President Speech
I remember first hearing about the Gay-Straight Alliance as a freshman. I was frequently asked if I was a part of it because everyone seemed to assume that the little fem boy would, of course, join the GSA.
I can admit when I started high school I had a different view of the gay community. Although I knew deep in my heart that I was a part of it, I was continuously told it's not something I should be proud of. But it's finally deciding to check out the GSA for myself that made me realize that I should be proud.
The first meeting I went to, I met so many other queer students, and I realized how much I related to them. I met students who came from different cultures, different homes, but still managed to have the same hopes, fears, and dreams. They taught me that Pride is so much more than a rainbow flag. Pride is about being unapologetically your most authentic self no matter who it pisses off. Pride is about honoring the legacy that queer trailblazers of the past left behind so we can have that rainbow flag today.
I deserve to be the next GSA President because I know what it's like to feel like a lost gay fish in a sea of straights. I do not relate to LGBTQ students, I am an LGBTQ student, and I give you my word I will use this position to not only spread the message of gay pride but to spread the message that this club really stands for. Equality.
I plan to show that queer students are just as valid and worthy as any other student because at the end of the day we are the same. That is the lesson that this organization has taught me, and that is the lesson I hope to pass on. I know it is my responsibility to inspire the next generation of queer students as those before me have inspired me.
Liberation is an important word for the queer community. Liberation is an important word for the entire world. The dictionary definition for the word liberation isÂ a movement seeking equal rights and status for a group.Â Liberation is something we've seen throughout history time after time after time. Liberation is something we should all know, remember, and hold on to. We've
seen liberation in this world when women fought for and earned their right to vote and stand equal to men in society. We saw liberation in our world when people of different races and cultures came together to stand up for their rights and equality. Liberation presented itself to us when the queer community rioted for their rights on Christopher Street in New York late June of 1969. Liberation is something that I thought I fully understood as a queer teenager who's spit in the face of ignorance and discrimination. As a young adult, I'm only honored and excited learning more and more about what it means to live authentically queer, and what it means to be liberated.
I first admitted that I liked boys when I was 13. Even then, before I even got to the topic of my gender identity, I thought I knew anything and everything I needed to know about being LGBTQ. I thought I fully knew what liberation meant when I finally admitted I liked boys after years of being called a faggot. I never fully understood why I was targeted by bullies as much as I was, whether it was my femininity, or just being a weird, nerdy kid. Feeling alone, isolated and bullied for so long can either push someone to live in fear or to live in strength. To be honest, even six years later, I still don't know which one I fell into. As humans, we live in both fear and strength. I choose to stay on the side of strength as much as possible.
In today's world, living in fear is the worst thing you can do, even if sometimes it feels like the easiest thing to do. Humanity tends to threaten what they don't understand. Humanity often picks and chooses what they include in their reality and throws everything else to the side. Humanity tends to take groups of people and socially outcast them. I've seen that the feeling of fear can fade away among queer people when they discover their community. I thought I knew what liberation was when I was president of my high schools Gay Straight Alliance. I thought I knew what liberation was when I wrote and starred in my own play about my experience as a queer high school student. I thought I knew what liberation was when I competed in my first pageant as Crystal Tyler and placed as 3rd Alternate. I thought I knew what liberation was when I was bullied. I thought I knew what liberation was when I was held naked in a doorway. I thought I knew what liberation was when I was given up on and shipped off to a psych ward. But what I've learned from all of these experiences is that this is not just my journey. My pride and my art is only a small part of an entire community experiencing pride, freedom, love, and liberation. I've always said it's important as a queer person today to carry out the legacy created by people who have lost their lives for this movement and continue to inspire the generation of queer people that comes after you to continue waving that rainbow flag, and that is all I hope to do. Liberation has a growing definition for everybody. Queer or not all we can ever do is continue to grow through education, through art, through experience, and pride.