Mountain Grown – A project of 100 Days in Appalachia. Head back to 100 Days' Homepage.

Leo

Ripley, West Virginia

"I love West Virginia. Whenever I leave, I will miss it, but if I go to almost any other place

I'll be more accepted, so that's something I try to look forward to."

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"In Appalachia in general, it's not that great. But I know there are some places in Appalachia that are way more accepting than others because I used to grow up in Roane County, which was 10 times worse. Like I actually got thrown against a wall and smacked in the face before because of it. And then here, it's like people say stuff, but it's always behind my back, and it's never like people trying to beat me up. I mean, of course I still get backlash for it, but it's not anything compared to what happened in Roane County.

"But then here, in the U.S., I guess it's like the same thing; some places are just more accepting than others and here in West Virginia, they're really not that accepting overall. There's definitely some people here that are accepting, but for the majority, it's just, people are against it."

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"The LGBT community here is kind of – I don't know, I guess it really depends who you ask about it because I personally think it's bigger than what I thought. Because in Roane County, there's probably like five people that are part of the LGBT – that were out at least. Here, we kind of have our own group, like the majority of my friend group are part of the LGBT in some way. 

"It's like you have like this entire friend group, this entire clique that is LGBT, so it’s like you have people who get you and you also feel more reassured in who you are as a person. And it's like less people are gonna mess with you because it's not just you who are different, it’s the entire friend group. A lot of people in LGBT, they stick together, and that's kind of like what my friend group is."

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"I love West Virginia, like the nature and stuff, and I feel like whenever I leave, I will miss it, but if I go to literally almost any other place I'll be more accepted. So, that's something I try to look forward to.

"It is really important for me because I don't want to be stuck somewhere feeling worse than what I already do here. I'm going to go off to college and I have the choice of where I can go. I want to go to a place that I can feel like I can be me; I feel like I can be open about who I am, so I don't have to hide it."