Coming out early

Jim Day
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Cory Buote's mom, Rebecca Perry, suspected her son was gay from age three. Buote says most of his friends suspected he was gay before he came out last year at age 14.

Gay Charlottetown teen feels weight lifted off his shoulders coming out, even though he's only 15 years old

This is the final article in The Guardian's series looking at LGBTQ issues in Prince Edward Island, Pride in P.E.I.

Cory Buote suspected early on that he was gay.

By Grade 6, he was certain and he made a deal with himself. He would not tell anyone until he was 18.

He broke the deal by four years.

The Charlottetown teen tried to hide his true sexuality for a time. He dated a lot of girls. He even had a "pretty serious'' relationship last year at age 14.

"I just wanted to be like every one else,'' he says of putting on a straight act. "I wanted people to like me. I just didn't want to be different.''

In reality, though, his secret was out even before he came out.

Buote realizes that he presented as being gay for years, even though he did his best to play the straight guy.

So when Buote decided to come out in 2013, friends and family members were not exactly clutching their hearts in shock and disbelief.

For Rebecca Perry, her boy's announcement came as a relief. The acknowledgement confirmed what the mother had suspected as far back as when her son was merely three: her boy is gay.

The thought only grew stronger with each passing year.

Now, no longer hiding from the fact is serving Cory well, says mom.

"I think he is more open,'' she says. "He is starting to be more self-confident. He is more comfortable in his own skin.''

And that seems to be the crux of the matter: facing the truth.

Buote came out so he could finally be himself. He no longer has to pretend to be someone he is not. In a word, he is liberated.

"It was great,'' he says of going public about being gay. "It was so good. It was like a weight off my chest.''

Buote isn't mumbling his message. He has been shouting loud and clear that he is gay, not straight.

He even posted a video on YouTube detailing his personal story.

People like him have taken note of what he has gone through, and what he has to say.

He is aware of at least 20 P.E.I. youth, both male and female, that credit him with coming out themselves.

"I love giving people advice,'' he says.

He recommends coming out only when a person is "totally ready.'' It needs, he explains, to feel like the right time.

The best person to tell first, he adds, is the one "you are closest with and trust the most.''

In Buote's case, that was a female friend. She welcomed the news with glee.

"She was really excited,'' he says.

"I guess she just wanted me to be myself.''

Pride P.E.I. youth co-ordinator Janet Bradshaw says more Islanders are coming out at an earlier age these days. The big announcement is often made by high school students.

Bradshaw estimates at least 15 students are openly gay at Three Oaks Senior High School in Summerside, where she works as an educational assistant.

She believes the climate in schools in P.E.I. is growing increasingly more welcoming for gay students.

At least five schools have established a Gay Straight Alliance with the first struck a handful of years ago at Charlottetown Rural High School.

The goal is a Gay Straight Alliance in every high school across Prince Edward Island.

"It's a fairly new concept,'' says Bradshaw.

"Its purpose is to make schools safe for all students.''

Bradshaw feels fear of ridicule is the largest concern that delays youth from coming out.

Some students do get bullied after announcing they are gay, lesbian, bi, transgendered or other, commonly through hateful language rather than physical abuse, she adds.

When Buote sat down in the bleachers at his school after coming out, one person told him not to sit by him and blurted out a derogatory word.

Overall, though, he has not encountered much negative feedback. Support has been strong from friends and family.

"My mother always raised us not to judge,'' he adds.

"She was really supportive (of Buote coming out). She wanted me to be myself.''

The relationship scene, however, is not off to a roaring start. He has had one boyfriend, but is not dating at the moment.

Getting girlfriends, ironically, was a walk in the park compared to finding a male partner.

"It's sad,'' he says.

Buote is, however, quite thrilled with all the attention he has received since coming out. He soaks it up.

The thought of having his story splashed across the front page of The Guardian was not intimidating. Rather, it was exhilarating for the teen. Remember, he is just 15, so all the fuss is quite an exciting adventure.

So Buote welcomes all the attention he can garner. He also hopes his story will help other young Islanders struggling with — or simply choosing to conceal — their true sexual identity to figure out their situation and how best to deal with it.

Bradshaw also encourages youth to come to terms with their gender identity and sexual preference.

"Kids just need to be who they feel inside,'' she says. "They need to present themselves as they feel inside. They can't live a lie any longer.''

Organizations: Gay Straight Alliance

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Summerside

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Recent comments

  • Loretta
    August 04, 2014 - 06:26

    Great story! As a parent of a gay child, my daughter came out to us at the age of 14! One of the things I have learned about our story, is how difficult it is for our children to open up about these issues. I am a fairly open and considered myself to be pretty modern. So I was surprised just how difficult she found it. When she started talking to me, and when I realized where she was going with the conversation, I thought....I was right, she was gay, my insides started smiling, because I could tell this was huge for her! and felt honored that she was talking to me. Even at the tender age of 14, she was certain about something in her life. I told her, that I had known for a bit, and that I loved her for life and Thanked her for sharing with me. Thank you Cory for sharing your story!

  • Stacey
    August 03, 2014 - 18:32

    What a courageous young man.....:)

  • Be Proud
    August 03, 2014 - 03:48

    This Mom has every reason to be proud of her son. He is her child! To love your child despite what religion tries to teach you. To love your child no matter what society tries to tell you. Just love your child.

  • Shannon
    August 02, 2014 - 23:14

    I am so proud of this young man and his family for their love and support! Don't ever listen to the haters but embrace your supporters. Some people don't understand everyone is unique and are very ignorant to the fact that family is forever and love is unconditional , I have two children and if either ever came out I would love them no matter what ! Best of luck to you !

  • Someone who was scared to come out with it too
    August 02, 2014 - 17:34

    cory what you're is amazing i am glad you came out with it ... trust me i am the same age as you and i was once that kid trying just to fit but it didnt work for me ... but anyways you are the most bravest boy to do this i wish you the best of luck...

  • J
    August 02, 2014 - 16:20

    Ordinary, are you an expert on God? I don't think God would judge people. If you believe God made males/females etc, then He must be responsible for all types of people. We're you around when God created the world and people. Be careful what you say, just look at the horrible things that have been committed in the name of religion.

  • J
    August 02, 2014 - 16:19

    Ordinary, are you an expert on God? I don't think God would judge people. If you believe God made males/females etc, then He must be responsible for all types of people. We're you around when God created the world and people. Be careful what you say, just look at the horrible things that have been committed in the name of religion.

  • david
    August 02, 2014 - 16:16

    I am glad the young man found himself. But really why the need for the public attention can't people just be who they are an live their lives without needing to tell the world what they like in in life. Really way to much attention is paid to someone's sexual preference who cares. Seems more like that many gay people want the world to know they are gay and seem to want attention for being gay. So what you are gay so what who cares. I know I don't care whether someone is gay/straight/transgender or other or some new word they have yet to come up with. Seems more and more it is all about how much attention you can draw to yourself. Live your life the way you wish to and let others live theirs we don't care what you like or don't like.

  • Angel
    August 02, 2014 - 13:35

    The mom knew he was gay from age 3??? Is she serious..yea right mommy..that's not fair to the kid at that age

    • Cory Buote
      August 02, 2014 - 16:43

      Please explain how it isn't fair I'm curious

  • J
    August 02, 2014 - 12:39

    All the best to this young man......but is this really front page news? Whoever and whatever organization is backing this young man in this effort needs to give their collective heads a shake, seems his innocence might be being used to push another agenda.

    • Michael
      August 02, 2014 - 21:03

      ummmm... you may be right: an agenda of acceptance, of self and from others, perhaps. Gotta nip that in the bud.

    • my thoughts
      August 03, 2014 - 03:07

      I agree with J.....I worry that this young man is being used by an organization backing the gay rights movement. This child (14) the article states is loving the attention.....what teen doesn't.? I fully support his rights, however, he is a teen and don't feel he should have been exploited in this way to further an "agenda" I wish him the best of everything as I do for all teens, but feel this article has not helped this teen in any way. The organization backing him should have thought twice....as the reporters should have.

    • my thoughts
      August 03, 2014 - 03:10

      I agree with J.....I worry that this young man is being used by an organization backing the gay rights movement. This child (14) the article states is loving the attention.....what teen doesn't.? I fully support his rights, however, he is a teen and don't feel he should have been exploited in this way to further an "agenda" I wish him the best of everything as I do for all teens, but feel this article has not helped this teen in any way. The organization backing him should have thought twice....as the reporters should have.

  • Ordinary Very Thankful Person
    August 02, 2014 - 11:35

    God made men and boys and women and girls and that's the way it should stay. GAY, LESBIAN, TRANS-GENDER....... You are sick! GET A LIFE...... WAKE UP AND SMELL THE ROSES.

    • George
      August 02, 2014 - 14:55

      ^^ extraordinarily hateful person.

    • Tolerant Person
      August 02, 2014 - 16:16

      As you state, God made men, boys, women and girls. He made them all different and that was his decision, including deciding which of them would prefer members of the opposite sex and which would prefer members of the same sex. He also decided which of us would prefer shorter people, who would prefer taller people, who would prefer skinnier people and who would prefer overweight people. Just because somebody does not have the same preferences in a partner as somebody else does not make that person sick - it just makes them unique.

    • Gosh
      August 02, 2014 - 20:08

      Wow. As a bisexual teen trying to decide whether to come out to my Christian friends, this is at best another unsettling reminder how backwards PEI can be. I hope to goodness my generation is breaking away from that mindset, because people like you, "Ordinary" person, are heaping fuel on the fire in me that makes me want to get the hell out of here as soon as I'm legally able, run far away and never come back.

    • Michelle
      August 02, 2014 - 22:46

      Ordinary Very Thankful Person- YOU wake up and smell the roses...YOU wake up and get a life....YOU are sick!!! It is people like you that make this world such a terrible place to live. People like you are the reason people kill themselves. You make me sick!!! Kudos to this young man. We do not know each other but I am so proud of you and please know that you are truly an inspiration to others. Good luck in the future!!!

    • Michelle
      August 02, 2014 - 22:47

      Ordinary Very Thankful Person- YOU wake up and smell the roses...YOU wake up and get a life....YOU are sick!!! It is people like you that make this world such a terrible place to live. People like you are the reason people kill themselves. You make me sick!!! Kudos to this young man. We do not know each other but I am so proud of you and please know that you are truly an inspiration to others. Good luck in the future!!!

    • Tyler
      August 02, 2014 - 23:02

      I suggest you shut up, you're a fool if you do not accept gays, lesbians, etc. They are all the same as us, there is NO difference.

    • Shannon
      August 02, 2014 - 23:17

      Good greif , such ignorance

  • Island Mom
    August 02, 2014 - 09:24

    I am happy for this boy that at a young age he is able to be his true self and has many people in his life that accept and love him for who he is. It still bothers me however, that he had to 'come out' in the first place. Why is being straight the common assumption and why did he (and many others) feel it is the norm? Gay (ie: human) rights still have a long way to go if the predominant attitude continues to be "straight until confirmed gay".

    • ..
      August 02, 2014 - 12:40

      People assume othersare straight automatically because the majority of the population is straight. That's not a bad thing it's ...how life is