Now Reading
Student’s emotional speech shines light on being young, depressed and gay

Student’s emotional speech shines light on being young, depressed and gay

Gay student speech depression

A high school student in New Zealand has given an emotional speech at her school’s prize giving evening about coming out as gay and the depression that followed.

18-year-old Monique Gooch shared her story to a packed assembly. She is Head Girl at her school, Waimate High School, in Canterbury.

The student spoke about how she discovered she was gay in Year 10 and, even though her friends never singled her out, she still started to live with depression.

Gooch said to teachers and students in her speech: ‘After finally feeling like I found my place in high school, it was terrifying to make the realization that I was gay.

‘And let me tell you, this is even hard for me to say now, years later, in front of strangers because I don’t know what everyone’s political beliefs are, but back then the fear was so much worse.

‘I didn’t want to ruin the relationships I’d created and remember thinking to myself that I would never tell anyone. But it was something that was always on my mind and I could tell it was making me distant.

‘That’s when I knew I had to come out, but to my relief my friends were great about it.

‘I was also worried about coming out in a small town school but I was pleasantly because never once did I feel like I was singled out by kids or teachers.’

Acceptance doesn’t cure all wounds

Despite the relief of coming out, Gooch’s story follows a familiar path for many LGBTI youth. She unfortunately began to live with depression.

‘That’s why returning to school the next year and falling into depression will never make sense to me.

‘I know what you’re thinking… “Here we go again, another gay depressed kid, what’s new?”

‘And I have to say this is extremely awkward to talk about. Both of these things are viewed very negatively in society and I try to separate myself from these stereotypes because, although these things are a part of me, I hate being reduced down to these factors.

‘I just want to mention it today because it was such a huge part of my life and I think that not including it would make this whole speech feel dishonest. I don’t know what caused my depression, I just realized the moment I didn’t feel like myself anymore and I knew that something was wrong.’

Gooch’s life became progressively worse as the depression continued untreated. It began to affect her life.

She continued: ‘School for me in Year 11 became very difficult. I actually fell asleep in classes and lunchtime on a regular basis because I didn’t have the motivation or energy to stay awake. I also started to push away my friends.’

However, Gooch says her motivation to start on the road to recovery was the fact she was afraid of missing out. So she eventually buckled down and ended up winning the Excellence Endorsement award from her school.

Mental health issues and young LGBTI people

Mental health problems are a big issue in the LGBTI community – especially in young people.

A recent study found that more than a third of LGB university students in the UK attempted suicide. 65% of them self-harmed, compared to 41% of straight students.

More from Gay Star News:

My mental health issues don’t debilitate me – but I deserve help too

Viral Twitter thread shows the horrifying state of mental health services in the UK

Gay Men’s Health Crisis open new mental health clinic in New York