Scholar Class – 2012
Kathryn Kendall was raised in a traditional, privileged southern family. Growing up in this environment was difficult, as expressing individuality often meant ostracization. She had a harsh coming‐out experience at the end of high school. Thankfully, Kathryn soon found a small but accepting group of friends at the University of Virginia through the Queer Student Union and the University of Virginia Women's Rugby Team. She turned to her new friends in these social networks as she struggled with family problems, and worked to accept her identity as a lesbian woman and a part of the LGBTQ community. After being accepted into Teach for America, she was placed in a school in rural Eastern North Carolina. Kathryn quickly discovered that she would have to sacrifice her identity as a lesbian, because North Carolina is a state where it is legally permissible to fire someone from their job because of their sexuality. As a teacher, she had to conceal her sexuality, dodge personal questions and listen to homophobic comments from her co‐workers and administrators. Every day she hid her identity as a lesbian because, if she did not, she would be fired and her 94 students would not get the education they deserved.
Kathryn struggled with remaining silent, but after having had this experience she now fully understands the necessity of LGBTQ legal reform. The marginalization she has faced has inspired Kathryn to go to Boston College Law School. She is looking forward to being an agent of change so that one day equality can overcome injustice.