06/27/2012 01:31 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

True LGBTQ Stories: Gay Teens Fight to Become the First Male Color Guard Members in Their High School (VIDEO)

I'm From Driftwood is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit forum for true lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer stories. Earlier this year, founder and Executive Director Nathan Manske and two companions successfully completed a four-month, 50-state Story Tour collecting LGBTQ stories from towns and cities across the country. They're pulling some of the most relevant, important and sometimes just enjoyable stories from their archives and sharing them with HuffPost Gay Voices.

Craig and his friend Andy wanted nothing more than to be in the Color Guard in high school, and they would stop at nothing to make it happen:

We went to an audition one time, learned some of the moves, and didn't get in, so we borrowed some of the flags from the school, and we spent every waking hour outside until 11:00 at night, until the neighbors were like, "Stop doing that!" because we're dropping them on the ground and making all this noise. We were obsessed with it.

Unfortunately, perfecting their skills would not be enough for them to join the team. Homophobic leaders at the school were insistent that boys, especially gay boys, could not join the team:

When we wanted to join the guard, we had to fight to get in, because the school didn't want us to do it. We basically had to threaten a lawsuit to do it. My brother told me that the drumline instructors said, "We're going to make sure those faggots don't get into the guard."

Craig's brother stepped up and told off the drumline. Then, Craig confronted them personally:

I went up to the director of the group, and I started asking him about it. I said I heard through the wind that, you know, these people are saying they're going to keep us from getting in, [that] they don't want it to happen. He said, "Well, you know, you're going to have to meet the skills, you know, necessary when you do the audition," and I said, "I'm going to say this again.. We're going to get in, so that's not going to be a problem. We have all the skills, and, if we don't get in, you know, there might be a problem."

Although just 15 years old, Craig was so determined that he found the words to defend himself. While the school initially resisted, the administration eventually came around to see Craig's side:

It's ridiculous because a lot of high schools have it now. A lot of the high schools have, like, multiple guys on the squads and stuff. We had to just kind of push our way through.


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