I was popular in my elementary school. My freshman year was hell.

For the last four years of high school, every single day was fag this, fag that, queer this, queer that. I had vicious rumors spread about me. Not one day would go by, not one day that I wouldn't hear a slur.

I used to be constantly smiling, I used to laugh a lot, I used to hug more, I used to show affection. High school has taken away that loving part of me, that good part of me, and it makes me very angry. I still show my affections and it comes back once in a while. They didn't take it away totally. But I don't think it will ever come back full force. It's sort of like losing innocence. Once innocence is lost it's never regained.

I remember distinctly when I started high school, my mother looking at me very sad, like, almost like she was about to cry and saying "Raphael," she goes, "what's wrong?" "What do mean what's wrong? I'm fine." She goes "No, you're not. You don't smile anymore."


To inquire about this project
in video, and printed formats,
send an email to project creator Dan Habib.

All photos ©2010, Dan Habib
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