In middle school, Curtis Galloway was a little heavy, he was in the gifted art class, he had odd hobbies (he’d started a ghost-hunting club), and he was in band.
Then it got even better: The other guys in his class started talking about girls.
A representative declined to talk on camera, but told me she did not think it was possible for a young child to commit sexual assault.
But the only hint of parental suspicion he could dredge up was his mother’s saying lightly, when he wanted to frost the tips of his hair about five years after it was cool, “Well, normally, only girls dye their hair. She must have called his father the minute she hung up, because that evening, his father sat him down.
Unless you have something you want to tell me…” Then, in the fall of his junior year—November 16, 2010, not that he remembers—Galloway asked permission to drive a friend to the next town so she could visit her boyfriend. “Normally, a guy wouldn’t be OK with that,” his father ventured, “unless of course he knew that person was gay. ” “Yes,” Galloway blurted, “but only if you won’t be mad! They assured him that they loved him no matter what.
They held hands for six months; it was all he wanted to do. Then he took a deep, shaky breath and came out to two friends he’d met—which itself seemed a miracle, in tiny Benton, Illinois—who were openly gay.
He’d denied it for so long, they thought he was kidding.