Word Count: 1525
Takes: 5 minutes and 10 seconds to read
Validated by: Demon_skeith
A talk with Michael Swanson. A fourteen year old male from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. He shares with us his struggle to get accepted for who he is and sexual preferences.
What makes this a rather special interview is that he is a LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) person. He also owns a forum named Pokemon Tundra.
(1.) Max Pen: What are the general views of people who live in Alaska and the place you live yourself about people who are gay,lesbian,etc…?
Michael Swanson: I guess it all just depends on the person. There are people here who are strictly religious, then there are those who couldn’t give a crap of who you are and who you like. Luckily, my friends couldn’t care less about who I am. The weird thing about it all is that it is the only thing that most people in my school think is the most spectacular thing about me when really it is just one of those meager things about a person.
(2.) Max Pen: Do you know other people who are like you or are gay,lesbian? What is the current status in Alaska of those people getting equal rights?
Michael Swanson: I know a lot of people who are gay/lesbian. Particularly here in Alaska, I don’t know a lot because they tend to hide their sexual preferences from society. The current status of LGBT equal rights, again, small, but working its way up.
(3.) Max Pen: If you could choose to move would you leave Alaska and live in a country that accepts gays and lesbians and also allows gays and lesbians to marry? Or would you wait until that happens in Alaska to?
Michael Swanson: Necessarily as a military kid, I have very little say in where the Air Force sends my family and I. Although I do get to have an input on where I’d like to go. Frankly, if my family was to move to a country such as England for our final base, then that would be lovely.
(4.) Max Pen: How did people at school and other places found out you were a LGBT kid? And is it a very special thing to be on Alaska? (As in very very strange someone is a LGBT kid there.)
Michael Swanson: I first came out when I was in 7th grade, which was last school year. I was back in Washington state then in the Spokane area. I went on Facebook one night and just felt like it was time to tell someone. I told one of my closest friends I had and bargained that if he let it out to anyone, he would owe me big time. I told multiple other persons, too, also bargaining the same deal. Then within about one or two days, the whole school knew about it. I wasn’t so sure of who let it out, nor, did I have the motive to try and find out who did it. Then came a PCS (Permanent Change of Station… well, not so permanent). It was September 3, 2010 that I came out to my Health class who was doing About Me presentations where everyone had to make a project featuring themselves and whom they are. I knew there were loud mouths(people who spread things around) in that class. I just didn’t expect much of an outcome out of it all. I wouldn’t really say it is “special”, but I would say it gives a unique, courageous look to the person coming out.
(5.) Max Pen: When did you know you were this or that, like did you feel first being a gay then lesbian, then bisexual,etc …
Michael Swanson: I found out when I had a girlfriend (who shall go unnamed). When I had my first boyfriend, I was 100% sure about it because I had this happy, joyous feeling in me that I didn’t have with my ex-girlfriend.
(6.) Max Pen: Are your feelings clear and straight on, or are you having a lot of trouble finding out what a feeling you got means at that time or if you sure you are a LGBT kid for sure?
Michael Swanson: I’m dead sure that I’m an LGBT kid. I couldn’t be any more sure.
(7.) Max Pen: You also get bullied for your sexual preference at school. When did that start and in what level of bullying? Very aggressive or just shouting offensive words at you?
Michael Swanson: It started around January 2010. Some of it was actually in between not notable, and harsh. My last middle school was where the majority of the bad things have happened. People would say that I should play with the girls because that’s where I belong, they’d kick my apparel around when undressing from gym, they’d try to make it look like I was looking at their crotch, etc. It was horrible then. Now at the school I’m at, it has been so much better. I usually hear “That’s so gay” go around, but beyond a shadow of a doubt, I managed to get a policy in place for that. Only once though has someone tried to exclude me from something because of my sexuality.
(8.) Max Pen: What do you think motivates them to bully you, out of fear not knowing what you feel or knowing what you have and what it means but still despising you for it?
Michael Swanson: From my point of view, I’ve always found it to be them judging and prejudicing me because of their own problems and they are just trying to feel better about themselves. I also think that they might have done it out of jealousy of how much attention I’ve gathered out of it. I’m not saying I’m an attention seeker, it is just that my school peers rarely see it, so they give attention to it.
(9.) Max Pen: What has prevented you from stepping up to the bullies?
Michael Swanson: I always took care of them indirectly by doing the right thing and talking to the counselor and principal about it. I never wanted to go directly at them with my anger towards them because I had this feeling in my gut that there would be a possibility that there would be a fight.
(10.) Max Pen: Did you try in the very beginning to hide who you are and try to fit in the current society? Or did you show who you are and show them you are a LGBT kid? What do you do right now? Hide it when you can or still show yourself as who you are?
Michael Swanson: I’m more of an open kid. I prefer letting people know about it so it is one less thing I have to carry on so people know instead of them figuring it out for themselves.
(11.) Max Pen: Are you a religious person? If so does it come in conflict with who you are?
Michael Swanson: I’m spiritualistic. My parents are religious, but they couldn’t care about who I am. My grandmothers, though, respectively, they would have their own problems with my sexuality. One doesn’t like gay people, the other was born and raised as a religious daughter. So, it would conflict me if they found out.
(12.) Max Pen: What is life like growing up on an air force base?
Michael Swanson: Depends on the person and depends on the Air Force Base. For a person like me, you could have friends on the opposite side of the base and very little friends near you, or you will have a lot of friends near you and very little further away. It gets boring at times though. That’s why I go bowling on Saturdays to fill the gap.
(13.) Max Pen: Were your parents accepting your sexual preferences when they found out?
Michael Swanson: I still think they are a little in denial.
(14.) Max Pen: What do you belief makes someone gay or lesbian? Is it when the child is born or when it is in its youth growing up? Was it in your current situation?
Michael Swanson: I sit in the middle of the scale on that. I believe that the only time someone can choose to be gay or lesbian is if they swear off dating the opposite sex. That’s the only logical time I will believe that someone chose to be gay or lesbian. I do tilt more on to the birth side of it.
(15.) Max Pen: Can you give us specific details on what your RPG is about and why you started it?
Michael Swanson: Pokemon Tundra is a free form RPG. Meaning that it is unlike the video games. You can go to any place in the wild and roleplay. You can do it by soloing, or doing it with a friend. There are no movesets, there is no such thing as a level up. The evolution works by amount of battles and the moves allowed are anything that an online pokedex will allow them to have.
A very big thanks for doing this interview, and telling us more about how you feel and what you have gone through because of your sexual preferences. I hope your situation improves alot! And to our readers have a nice time checking out this interview. -Max Pen