I know I should not judge the USA as a hole on just my experience living in Alabama, but First impressions mean a lot to this boy. Alabama really has hurt me, I know we all go through awkward stages as we grow, but Alabama never let me grow as a homosexual, it pushed me back into a closet I had long forgotten about. I came out to all my close friends in grade nine and then before I knew it I had managed to tell the all of my school, I would go to GSA and I had queer friends who introduced me to a community that embraced me as friends or family would. Grade nine and first semester grade ten was the year that made me into the person I am today Alabama only showed me how much I love my country. Before moving to Rockwood in grade nine I lived in Milton, and at the time moving 45 minutes north to Rockwood made me feel like I was going to die. Now looking back it made me stronger, that small move it prepared me for the move that changed my life a year later. It showed me who was my real friends and let me explore who I was with a blank slate. A fresh start. I still talk to two of my friends from Milton, I love them to death, but they are the only connection I have left with that town other than family and memories. Rockwood let me grow, in a small town southern Ontario I got to experience some wonderful friendships, and having to go the city of Guelph for school never made me feel like I was out in the middle of nowhere. I had the freedom at school to explore a big old city during the day and had a nice small village to sleep in at night. Some of the most influential people to my life became a part of me in this village and city. I hold them close to my heart, even now I don’t speak with them that often or even at all but I have not lived a day that I have not thought about them once or twice. It was only a year that I lived in Rockwood, and it was the most important year of my life. The summer between grade nine and ten, my mom and dad started looking for homes in Alabama, after my dad was offered a job down in Alabama. Around this time the close group of friends I had started to fall apart, it felt like my world was caving in. in the end the group of friends never really was what it was before, but I still love them all, I can’t pick sides of who is right or wrong, we were all friends and if they ever need me, I will always be there for them in a heartbeat. I love them to death. Now living in Alabama I feel like I am lost. I have friends here and love them to death but I feel awkward and all it maybe something in my head but I never have felt like I have fit in down here in the south. The first week of school was hell, I was in heath class, (witch by the is nothing like heath class back home I had been in sex ed since grade three and we did not cover anything here in Alabama that is actually something you need to know we just talked about how we should not have sex before marriage or we risk getting STI’s. like back home we talked about where you can get condoms or plan-b, where you can go if you think you think you have an STI, and when I would ask the teacher about suck topics he would avoid the topic and change it faster than I could put my hand down. And then to top it off we did not even talk about LGBTQ sex ed, like at my High school and middle school in Canada we talked about LGBTQ topics in sex ed why could we not here in Alabama, at least the fucking red necks would learn something about homosexuals that their dumb ass red neck father did not teach them.) well I go in the first week and the teacher just starts gay bashing, I had never experienced anything like it and it is the most horrific thing I have ever experienced, in class sitting with a whole bunch of people I don’t know, and this ass hole teacher starts talking about how he does not like how gay people want marriage and how we ask to be bullied, I was never hurt so much in all my life. I tried to talk to another teacher and she justified it by saying “well you are in the south now, and we are not as liberal as you are in Canada” I Actually spent my lunch in the washroom crying that day. I let it go now but it still gets to me some days, I see him in the hall ways and I want to die in a hole every time. The first 8 months of me being in Alabama I did not leave the house other than for school. I started to look for friendship but everyone had made their clicks years before I had came into the picture. So I made friends with people I felt uncomfortable around, but after they dropped out I had no one again, so I made new ones and they are amazing friends, but I still have moments when I feel like they don’t get me, and I feel like I have to make myself the punch lie to jokes just to have them understand a little about myself and the things that I keep from them.