Throughout grammar school, Navidra Hardin was known as “the gay kid” and upon entering high school, he was determined to have a fresh start – a straight start. He made it a priority to show off how straight he was by being anti?gay. Shortly after Navidra’s father passed away in 2009, he realized that life is too short to have regrets and finally came out of the closet — despite his family’s views that homosexuality is “unnatural” and “sinful.” To his surprise, Navidra’s school community was mostly supportive. Still, being the only openly gay student in a Catholic school presented many obstacles: he was discouraged from starting a Gay-Straight Alliance and other LGBTQ-related activities. Things also proved even more difficult at home: upon coming out to his family, they cut off all financial assistance to him. Still, Navidra has persevered and uses these negative events as motivation in all aspects of his life, none the least of which are his educational pursuits. In keeping with his love of writing and speaking, Navidra is attending Emerson College to study Journalism.