First there was the Muslim girl who used her yearbook quote to silence trolls commenting on her headscarf. Then we met the badass teen who took aim at her school’s sexist dress codes. Now, yet another teen has used his yearbook quote to take a stand for social justice: 18-year-old Maxwell Barrett, an aspiring artist who decided to use his yearbook quote as an opportunity to come out to his parents.
Here’s the quote, which Barrett initially posted on Tumblr:
In an email to the Daily Dot, Barrett, who attends Raritan High School in Hazlet, New Jersey, said that he came across the quote while perusing social media earlier this year. “It wasn’t exactly worded that way, but I tweaked it to fit me,” he wrote.
While Barrett was out to his friends at school, he hadn’t yet come out to his family. He decided to use his yearbook quote as a way to finally reveal the truth about his sexual orientation to them.
At first, Barrett’s yearbook editor, a teacher at the school, wouldn’t permit him to use the quip as his yearbook quote, on the grounds that he was only trying to capitalize on “shock value,” as he told Cosmopolitan.
But after Barrett and his friends petitioned the school’s principal and vice principal, the teacher reluctantly agreed to include the quote in the yearbook. (Barrett says he hasn’t had any contact with the teacher since the post went viral.)
Since then, Barrett’s yearbook quote has gone viral, racking up thousands of favorites on Twitter and more than 119,000 notes on his Tumblr post as of the time of this writing. While he’s been met with a glowing reception from the Tumblr community, he’s also received a “tremendous amount of support” from his family and friends at school.
“Teachers even pulled me out of my classes to congratulate me about my quote,” he told the Daily Dot. “It’s crazy how much support I have been receiving.”
So how did his parents respond when their son finally came out to them? “I knew they had a feeling, but after seeing my quote it was more of a confirmation to them,” Barrett, who will be attending the OTIS College of Art and Design in Los Angeles in the fall, told the Daily Dot.
“[They] loved it. It made them so happy and proud to finally be able to be myself. It was a huge weight off all of our chests.”
Photo via Maxwell Barrett/Tumblr