Austin Wallis, 17, left his Christian private school in Texas after they threatened to expel him if he didn’t erase his online presence that reveals he is gay. Wallis and his boyfriend Nicolay explained the ordeal in an emotional video on his YouTube channel.
“He basically told me…I had to go back in the closet, which means I had to delete all my social media including YouTube,” Wallis says. “I had to erase my digital impact on the world. And he said I would have to do that to stay at the school and I could never be involved in another video or do anything for that matter…”
Instead of putting up with the bullying administrators were putting him through, Wallis left the school. “I don’t want people to think that I left just because of the social media,” he says. “It was because I can’t stay somewhere where I feel like I’m being forced into something that I’m not, or I feel like I’m not wanted by my own principal…I’m not a bad student. I really want to try and change this.”
“I think it’s ridiculous that in this day and age you can be excluded from your own school for being gay,” says Wallis, who chose not to name the school in the video because some faculty members showed him support. “When I came out I knew I was going to have bullies and I knew people were not going to be okay with it. But I never expected it to be from the people who were supposed to protect you from the bullies. Who were supposed to try to stop that. And then they themselves are the bullies.”
“I feel like you should be able to have Christian beliefs and still feel like everybody belongs,” he says. “I go there to express my faith. I am a Christian and I love my God, and I don’t feel this is what He would want. I don’t feel like excluding someone for who they are is anything Christian, I feel like it’s the opposite.”
Rocco Papa is from Maspeth, NY. Rocco began writing for his high school’s newspaper in his junior year and his interest in journalism came to fruition. Rocco attended Northampton Community College, where he received his Associate in Arts degree in Journalism. Rocco graduated East Stroudsburg University cum laude, receiving his Bachelor’s degree. He majored in Media, Communications, and Technology.
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