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"HE/HIM" PRESENTS:

THOMAS

What is your story?

"I always felt as if I was a little different than the rest of the boys during elementary school. But I knew to just keep moving despite of the certain looks I’ve gotten and the criticism of my own family at some points. My Christian family never really understood anything about the LGBTQ community. And being foreign, it just wasn’t something we really talked about.

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My brother and I were extremely close until one day I came home in girls clothes and it was just a huge shock to him and it really hit him. I grew older, I became more and more aware of the male stereotype and who really were my friends... [they] actually loved who I am regardless of who I am in love or how I express myself. And I am extremely grateful especially for each male friend I have who’s stuck by my side and treated like any other guy friend."

How would you describe yourself as a person?

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"I would describe it as just open and free. I literally do whatever and whenever, just live your life to the fullest as long as you’re not hurting nobody."

What is it like being a male on a female-dominated sports team?

"Well, with cheerleading, standing out in your uniform [and] being the only one in pants and a short sleeved shirt instead of the traditional skirt and long sleeve compression shirts, you know you’re gonna get looks. I’m just a cheerleader, not a “male” cheerleader. I am here to cheer and just because of society deciding that men don’t typically do this, doesn’t mean I have to stand out so much. But if I stand out I’m gonna stand out and make my mark. Now with volleyball, I play with boys but a lot of boys think it’s 'gay' to play volleyball but playing volleyball let alone with men it just shows anybody can play any sport, male dominated or female dominated. If you have a passion for something, go for it, and I show that on the court, on the net, on the sidelines, and on the mat."

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What are your hopes, if any, for the future of gender stereotypes?

"I hope that people know that just like straight people, gay people also have standards, so no, not every gay guy wants to date the semi decent straight guy. I also want people to stop stereotyping masculine women and feminine men and automatically think they are gay."

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