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Owning His Gay Identity -- at 15 Years Old


E.J.

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Owning His Gay Identity -- at 15 Years Old

Youths Coming Out Sooner, but Protections Against Harassment Lag

By Theresa Vargas, Washington Post Staff Writer

School's out, and Saro Harvey and his best friend, Samantha Sachs, are hanging out in his Arlington County bedroom. She is slouched across his bed, and he is poised on a chair, posture-perfect, wearing dark, skinny jeans and a ruffled shirt meant for a girl. A rust-orange purse he sometimes carries hangs behind the door.

The 15-year-olds were voted most popular last spring in their section of ninth grade at Wakefield High School. Still, Saro knows there are those on and off campus who don't like him, who never will.

He has grown so used to the stares and laughter of strangers that their insults slip off his 118-pound frame like an oversize shirt.

"I think I've dealt with it so much my whole life that it really doesn't bother me anymore, not as much as it used to," Saro says. "If you have a birthmark on your leg for so long, you don't even notice it."

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