Hey, I am Tyler Sheppard, a 18 year old gay teenager still trying to figure everything out, living just outside of Birmingham Alabama. I moved here from Milton Ontario Canada on December 26th 2010. It is hard coming from a place like Canada where homosexuality is so much more accepted and moving to a place like Alabama where they ship you off and pray the gay away. I am lucky my family is not crazy like that, but school sucks, and often I feel lonely, I miss having the LGBTQ community just outside my front door, I miss having gay teachers that are out and don’t give a fuck what the students or faculty thinks, I miss have allies, and most of all I miss being accepted. I know it could be worse but it sucks growing up with the idea that I am an equal under law and then move to a country that boasts about how free they are yet I cannot even get married under federal law in this country. I try to look at all the positives in life and all the wonderful things that are around me but much too often I find myself looking directly at the negatives. Being in a school and a state that is so closed mined I often feel like it is a losing battle of homophobia, but then I have amazing support from family, friends, and allies that make it all worth my time and effort. I am often afraid of how people see me and how what they believe defines what and who I am, that scares me to death. Also living in an area of the world that has beliefs and ideas that are so different to my own, makes me see what the LGBTQ community fought so hard for back home and what we still fight for every day around the world and gives me a new perspective and a whole new level of respect for equality. Also I am a feminist, I support and believe in women's rights.
May the odds be EVER in your favor.