Honorable Mention: Best Family/Friend of Gay Person
"The Boy in the Yellow Sweater Vest"
By Anonymous
2012 KarMel Scholarship Submission
KarMel Scholarship 2012
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Description of Submission:
"My written piece tells the story of my best friend Charlie, who has struggled throughout high school with being
accepted as a homosexual. It is a tribute to his journey throughout these past four years, and how far he has come in
terms of being accepted by others and accepting himself for who he is." -  Anonymous


Why Karen and Melody Liked
It:   
It's nice to get from a view point of a friend who sees his friend's journey to coming out.
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The boy in the yellow sweater vest walked into my math class on the first day of school during my freshmen
year. I remember how big his smile was, how bouncy his step was, and how brightly colored his shorts
were. When his mouth opened, however, all I remember is the instantaneous reactions of the immature
fourteen year olds that surrounded me. His high pitched, girly voice led to turning heads and sly whispers.
The boys giggled and teased, and my friend Sara and I looked at each other to exchange amused
expressions. I heard the girl behind me whisper, “He’s so gay,” The boy in the yellow sweater vest held his
chin high, oblivious to the prejudice and judgmental comments that were being made left and right. As the
day progressed, the conservative and Catholic student body of my high school stared and poked fun at the
boy who seemed to be so obviously gay. The boy in the yellow sweater vest just strolled through the
hallway with a smile on his face and a force field of positive energy.

In the beginning of sophomore year, the boy became known as more than just the gay kid. He was very
bright and people began to distinguish him as one of the most intelligent kids in our class. Every teacher
praised him for his precise public speaking skills, and he was involved in almost every volunteer club in
school. While the boys still laughed at his bright colored shorts and skin tight jeans, all of the girls wanted
to go shopping with him. However, half way through the year, the boy in the yellow sweater vest lost the
bounce in his step, and his smile began to fade. No longer did he chatter throughout Spanish class, but
rather sulked around the hallways and rarely sparked up conversation. His force field of positive energy
transformed into a wave of depression. While his clothes remained brightly colored, his aura was dark and
gloomy.

Junior year things began to turn around. While the boy still hadn’t returned to his naïve and cheerful self
from freshmen year, he leaned on the close friendships he had developed to carry him through. Rather
than focusing on the complications that being gay brought upon him, he focused all of his energy towards
his academics and excelled tremendously. The boy in the yellow sweater vest was pulling things together,
and that bright smile started to peek out every once in a while. It was clear, however, that the mark of his
depression was still a burden. With the help and guidance of many supportive teachers and friends, the
boy’s confidence began to once again shine through and his personality became as bright as his colored
shorts. The boy marched barefoot through the hallways rocking his sea green skinny jeans, purple button
down, and rainbow headband. People still stared at him, but not because they were making fun of him.
Instead, they admired his bold individuality and envied his self confidence.

The boy in the yellow sweater vest is indeed gay, and while he may be confident he will still struggle with
acceptance and prejudice every day of his life. His smile will carry him through tough times, and his
rainbow headband will define his bold personality wherever he may go. I know he will endure all of the
odds that are placed against him, because the boy in the yellow sweater vest just happens to be my best
friend. I started off as one of the shallow girls who only wanted him as a gay shopping buddy, and ended
up as the person who stood beside him through all of his ups and downs. I walked barefoot with him
through the hallways of our high school, studied with him until the wee hours of the morning, and talked him
through the many relationship dilemmas he was confronted with. And although we will be on opposite
sides of the country next year, him at UCLA and me in Boston, I will carry the lessons he taught me about
self acceptance and individuality wherever my travels take me. My best friend means the world to me, and
his journey of defining himself through his sexuality inspires me every day. I will fight for the rights that the
boy in the yellow sweater vest deserves, because a person as lovable as my best friend deserves the right
to love.