Marquise Brown came out as gay to his aunt when he was 16. She kicked him out immediately - he couldn’t take any of his things, and he wasn’t wearing anything but his underwear. 

This is Marquise’s account of how he overcame being homeless on and off and found support at school to ultimately become valedictorian. Sometimes things get really bad, he says, but if you work for it, you can find a way through.

I knew there were consequences for standing up for your beliefs, but I never thought I’d lose the place I’d known as home since sixth grade because of who I am. Full of anger and despair, I walked a few blocks across our neighborhood to my sister’s house. Despite having two children of her own and another baby on the way, my sister welcomed me into her home. It was a relief to finally be able to be myself, but I also had to grow up fast. …

The support of my teachers, school, and peers also helped me stay on track. GCCP supported me not just as an occasionally homeless LGBTQ teen, but as a person and as a student. The school has always been a safe place where my peers and I don’t have to hide who we are. I’ve been able to focus on my academics, and I’ll proudly graduate as the valedictorian. I’m also a senior class representative for student council, a member of my school’s National Honor Society, and one of my school’s first male cheerleaders. In addition to actively recruiting boys for the cheerleading team, this year I helped create GCCP’s student-led Gay Straight Alliance, which organized our first annual National Day of Silence. Both students and staff members chose to remain silent for the day in recognition of LGBTQ individuals who are continuing to live without the ability to express themselves.

Marquise sounds like a pretty inspiring guy. If anyone will be going to Pomona College in the fall, look him up.