Student Finds Courage To Be Himself
Anthony Garcia found more than a career path when he began the Administrative Health Care Management program in Temecula. He found the courage, which steadfastly eluded him throughout high school, to come out as a gay man.
Anthony was determined to start his new school with the truth of who he is and not “clam up”, as he had all his life, about something so important to his identity. “When I finally told some classmates straight out that I was gay they said, ‘Oh, we don’t care,’” says Anthony. Their attitude was a big shift from those he endured the previous year when word of his sexual orientation began to surface. “2011 was the worst year of my life,” he says. But, it was also a year of great promise for positive change.
Anthony’s parents were hardest hit with his disclosure. “It took my mom awhile to accept it, but now she is very supportive,” he says. Anthony went through a few months of self-destructive behaviors that friends helped pull him through. “Friends helped me in the first months of coming out by texting and making sure I was alright,” he says. “Their support made me feel more accepted.” He decided, “If this is who you are, you should not be afraid to express it; and people who love you will still be there for you.”
School was his refuge and he began to open up to others. “I became more outgoing, not afraid to be myself and would talk to and be friends with anybody,” he says. Anthony was given the Notable Newbie Award for reaching out to other students and helping them to do well. His own academic performance excelled. Never a very good student in high school, he was surprised to find himself making As and Bs in his coursework. “Seeing my grades made me feel even more confident and like this is really right for me,” he says. His parents are very proud of his accomplishments, as well.
Anthony gives a lot of credit to the culture of a private college compared to a community education system. “It’s like coming into a family with all that support behind you,” he says. “I would love for those who are afraid to go to school because of their sexual orientation to not be afraid,” he says. “Everyone here welcomed me with open arms.”
Asthmatic throughout his childhood, Anthony is eager to enter the medical field and help others struggling with health issues. What is his greatest inspiration? “Life is my biggest inspiration; seeing the world another day; helping people another day,” says Anthony.
His commitment to being an ‘open book’ has many more heartfelt chapters unfolding.
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