Poster made by Savannah. Thank you, dear! ♡
I’m not exactly sure what’s motivating me to write here. I guess I just want people out there to know my story. Before I begin, let me just preface this by saying I’m Nate, I’m 17, I play lacrosse, and I’m gay. But as important as that fact is to this story, I don’t feel it’s very telling as to who I am as a person. Maybe that’s a little clichéd. But I think that a cliché has a point. I think people should see beyond the fact that my story is like so many others, and look at the fact that there are so many other stories out there like mine.
I started watching Glee over last summer, when everyone was going crazy over Chord potentially becoming Kurt’s boyfriend. I wasn’t following any blogs on tumblr (and still don’t) but I really never considered myself a “fan” of Glee. The characters generally were likable, but (again, apologies for the cliché), as awesome as he is, I had a difficult time relating to Kurt, the only openly gay kid on the show. At that time last year, I was trying very hard to accept the fact that I’m gay, but worked even harder at covering it up. It’s almost hilarious the lengths I went to in order to hide the fact that I watch Glee.
And so, when I watched the infamous Duets episode, I sort of had a seizure in my chair after I watched it. I assumed that Sam was gay, and that was the plan for the show. I had this weird, emphatic recognition that the gay stereotype was nothing but a stereotype, and that the thing that ultimately mattered was the fact that I liked guys and that other people should just go fuck themselves if they see me as anything that I’m not just because I’m gay.
Because Sam was completely relatable. Not because he was a jock, or because he appeared to be struggling with his sexuality, but because I feel like I saw him as more of just a person before I saw him as gay. When we met Kurt, it was pretty evident to most of us from the first episode that he’s gay. But that evidence was purely based on stereotypes- the way he talks, the way he dresses, the way he moves, his interests, etc. And I’m by no means saying Kurt conforms perfectly to the gay stereotype, or that I’m trying to say I saw his characterization negatively- it’s just that when you see Sam, you see Sam. His sexuality comes after who he is as a person. His sexuality isn’t a character description.
I’m not trying to say that I’m like Sam. Yeah, I play a sport, but I thought Avatar sucked. I never read a comic book in my life, I can’t do weird impressions of actors. But I’m trying to say Sam didn’t conform to the stereotype. And neither do I. I’m not a huge fan of Lady GaGa or Beyoncé. I’ve never been in a musical. I could care less about fashion. So on, so forth. You’ve heard this stuff before.
Basically, Sam’s lack of conformity to the stereotype in Duets (and to me, it was very clear that Sam was gay/bi) moved me. It was almost cheesy. Looking back- I don’t want to say I’m embarrassed, but that episode just really clicked with me and suddenly I was okay with the fact that I’m gay. That night, about an hour of thinking after the Duets episode ended, I walked into my mom’s room, and said, “Mom, I’m gay.” Before the episode premiered, I had absolutely no intention of revealing my sexuality to anyone, ever. But it was as if I were possessed, or something. After I came out to my mom (who was completely shocked and didn’t know what to say, but was and is to this day very supportive), I came out to my best friend on the phone, who was generally confused, but didn’t seem to care- he’s still my best friend to this day. Eventually, by around December I was completely out of the closet to all of my friends and family.
But I didn’t really start following Glee more closely. I made sure I watched all the episodes, and I remain (to this day) convinced that Chord Overstreet, in Duets, was given direction to evident the fact that his character was gay. Whether that’s changed or not is anyone’s guess. I didn’t really discover the online community until the whole Don’t Cut the Chord campaign over the summer. I was completely pissed, and was amazed that I wasn’t the only one all along who thought Sam was gay/bi. Which brings me to Project Sam I Am.
Basically, I just wish the writers understood the importance Sam has to people like me. People have been saying it all along, and my stories just another story to give evidence to the fact that Sam’s gayness would give so many other people like me the same understanding and clarity that gay people don’t listen to show tunes. Gay people listen to whatever music they want to listen to. And people who listen to show tunes are just people who like to listen to show tunes, and nothing more.
Charlynn, 17, Alberta
I never gave Glee a chance when it first aired, and to be honest, I’m kind of glad that I didn’t. I feel that because I began watching it last September, it helped me more than I think it would have if I had watched it from the start.
Just before my junior year of high school, I moved away from the city I grew up in. When I watched Auditions, I didn’t know what to expect. The moment I was introduced to Sam Evans… I didn’t feel so alone. He was the quirky jock that was always striving to fit in, and I saw a lot of myself in him. Sam’s insecurities about his appearance and his constant need to compromise himself—those were all things that I felt that I needed to do in my new school. I saw through Sam’s exterior and I could tell that he was so scared. I was scared too.
When I found out that my old friend Alicia from back home liked Glee too, we immediately bonded over Sam. She showed me many articles about Sam being Kurt’s boyfriend and I was overwhelmed. There Sam would be—the awkward, dorky football player that was gay. Sam would break boundaries and stereotypes— a boy, just like any other boy, who liked boys.
I knew how important this would be for people. Not all gay boys wear cardigans and bowties. Some wear football jerseys and read comic books—that was okay.
I mean, I’ve always been open with my sexuality. I came out when I was eleven and I’ve always had people supporting me and loving me. I was never bullied and I was always one of the lucky ones. But that’s not the case with most people—a lot of lgbtq teenagers are still in the closet, afraid to come out and afraid of being chastised and bullied to their breaking points. That’s where Sam Evans could have helped them… he could have been the guy on TV that said, “Hey, it’s okay to be out and proud. It’s alright to wear sneakers and play football. It’s okay to be exactly who you are.”
Now, let’s skip ahead a bit—months have gone by and Sam’s storyline has been slaughtered.
Then Rumours happened.
Rumours was my potential Duets. Rumours was when I knew exactly how important Sam Evans truly meant to me. For all of those that related to Sam with sexuality, I related to him a little bit differently.
Let’s jump back to when I said I moved away before my junior year. I remember it clearly—I was visiting my aunt when I got the phone call. My mom was sobbing and I could hardly understand her. But when I did, let me tell you this, nothing has ever made me break down like what she said.
“Your dad and I are splitting up. He’s been lying about how he lost his job, and now we’re losing the house. We need to pack up within four days and find somewhere to go.”
I had to drive fourteen hours, with chicken pox, all the way back home to pack up my room. I was sick so I didn’t get to say goodbye to any of my friends (besides my girlfriend at the time). At the end of my cleaning and packing, I had gotten rid of 80% of everything I’ve ever owned and it all sat outside the house with a ‘free’ sign. Then I said goodbye to my mom and dad, brothers and my girlfriend—I was moving to Calgary to live with my aunt and uncle. That was the last time I saw any of them for months—some of them I didn’t even get to see for over a year.
When I was watching Rumours, I sobbed. My heart ached. I curled into a ball and all the memories and all of the pain just came back. I’d never related to anyone—fictional or not—until Sam Evans happened.
To me, Sam Evans is more than just a fictional character. He has a special meaning for each and every fan, and it’s all different. I know how important it was for him to have his original storyline. I can’t imagine how devastating it would be for someone who saw their sexuality through Sam Evans to be promised something that was just snatched away.
Because without the homelessness story, I would have had no one.
My name is Charlynn. Sam I am. Sam I’ll always be.
Link, 20, Rhode Island
I’m Link. Interesting name, some of you might say. And I might shrug it off. It’s not my name, not yet, or maybe not ever. It’s a placeholder. I’ve had several names in my life, and I’m having trouble finding one that fits. For right now, I’m Link (because who wouldnt want to be named after the savior of Hyrule?).
My story really isnt much like Sam’s at all, or maybe it kind of is. I’m not gay, you see. Or straight. I’m pansexual. But the reason I relate to Sam is because of my gender identity. I am an FtM transgendered individiual. I, like Sam, am not out.
I had tried coming out in high school, telling my friends that I was not the girl they thought I was. That I was a boy. “How can you be a boy?” the said, “You have such long hair, you like pink, you like cats and flowers, etc.etc.etc.” Undermining my identity because I was so… normal. I did not fit what I was trying to say. Nobody believed me. I was forced back into the closet, back into a space where the world could look at me and feel more comfortable. Where the world deemed more appropriate.
When I saw Sam come onto the show, and heard the news about him being Kurt’s boyfriend (!), I automatically fell in love. Here was a boy who was so normal, who defied all the world thought about what being a gay boy means. And, I was so excited to have Sam come out.
Maybe then, I would tell my friends again. Tell my mother. That I am a boy. That I like boys and girls. Despite the way I look (looked, technically, I chopped all my hair off once I got to University..welp), despite the way I act. I am who I am, and Sam is who he is.
Samuel Evans is a typical boy, who likes sports and comic books, and strives to be popular. And, he just so happens to be gay.
I am Link. I like pink flowers, kittens, and videogames. And, despite what the world feels about me, I am a boy.
gamblestache, 25, USA
To be honest, I wasn’t going to do this.
Mostly because I’m embarrassed — embarrassed to not even use my real name, or to tell you where I’m from, ashamed of my own fear and discomfort. I am not a role model and I am not inspiring. I’m closeted and lonely and scared.
I’m too open as it is on the internet, open enough that anything more specific about me could make it entirely too easy to find me, and I worry every day that finally someone’s going to find me out, and I’ll lose my job, or my family will decide I don’t need to be around my niece anymore.
It’s kind of weird, I guess, because my hobby’s writing gay porn, and more people know I do that in real life than know that I’m gay, or that I’m trans. My college friends know, or knew - who even remembers? - but even if it’s just a funny gag, it kind of stings. The gay porn I don’t worry about. The trans thing, kind of a big deal.
Out of fear and discomfort, my own concern for my own secrets - secrets I don’t even like to keep - I told myself I wouldn’t do this, that I would leave it to people with better stories to tell, but I just got so tired of seeing so many people talk about how stupid this is, or how stupid we are, and I got tired of stewing in my own paranoia.
I watched Glee in season one, and loved Kurt, and the idea of him - I was not particularly inspired by him in my personal life the way others are, though I was certainly inspired by Chris Colfer in an abstract sort of way. It wasn’t until season two that I felt any serious emotional investment in the show at all, or felt any strong personal connection between my story as a gay person or even as a transman and the show, but for some reason, for me, it was Sam.
The idea of some boy everyone always says can’t be gay being gay. Duets hurt so much, it still hurts - the revelation of Karofsky stings too, being told that this is the closest we will ever get to my kind of closeted experience. A violent bully.
I needed Sam to just be some guy who’s gay. Whose coming out struggle is about his relationship with his family and the suggestion of his upbringing - part of what makes us so similar - and not about his own self-loathing and his need to take it out on other people. I just wanted a story that made Finn and Burt say sorry, Kurt. Sorry for telling you that you can only wait for some boy like you.
I told myself, and I told other people, that when Sam came out, I would come out. And for a while when he didn’t it was a godsend, because frankly I just wasn’t ready. And then we found out he wasn’t going to be around any more at all, and suddenly I didn’t know when I’d ever feel like coming out was something I’d be capable of. It stings to know something you would see yourself in so much could be so easily washed away.
And even more it hurts to wake up every day being some other person you don’t want to be, and I still haven’t learned how to move past that, and I still have no idea when, or if, I’ll ever be able to do it. I wanted something to make me, I wanted Sam, because we came from the same kind of place, and we’re the same kind of person, and we would have the same kind of story, and I just really needed to see it and have it happened while I tried to cope on my own.
I’m gay and I’m trans. In the waking world, I am in the closet. There are not a lot of places for me to see myself on television, and this year, I needed Sam - the closest I thought I could ever get.
My username is gamblestache, and Sam I am.
Alex, 14, United States.
Reading through these stories, I’ve realized that maybe I’m not making it all up in my head. I know it’s an awful thing to be ashamed of yourself because of something you don’t have control over, but it happens. I’m not proud that I keep everything a secret, but I do. It’s not for my sake. It’s for my family and friends’ sake.
I’ve lived here, there, and everywhere. Small towns with no diversity. I’ve always been different than the kids in these towns, though. While most carelessly throw around derogatory names about anyone, really, not just the lgbtq+ community, I’m much more aware of what my vocabulary does. I’m very well aware of the fact that bullying can hurt someone and make them feel like there’s no way out.
Going back to the idea of me being different, I feel that I always have been. Most of my feelings are just starting to surface now, and nothing scares me more. I’m scared of my family hating me. I’ve never been good enough, no matter how hard I try, so why would this be any different? I’m scared of my friends leaving me. I only have one good one, and I know she’d never leave me, but it scares me to death.
I know I’m young, and I have all the time in the world to figure it out, but now that the pieces are quickly falling together, I want to stop it. I have no one to go to and no one to look up to. Even someone in the media would be helpful.
I’m not labeling myself as anything, because I’m completely clueless. But having a good, sweet, wholesome guy to look up to would help, I feel. Seeing as Quinn and Sam go to the same church, we can make the inference that Sam’s parents are religious. My parents are also religious, and while it’s not to the extent that Quinn’s parents are, it’s there. To see Sam struggle with his sexuality and to see his parents accept him would honestly give me more hope.
Sam’s friends have never been the greatest towards him, but maybe I’m just biased. While my friend has been lovely to me, I would still like to have reassurance that good friends last you a lifetime, no matter what you are.
Having someone to look up to means the world to me. While Kurt is one of my favorite characters, I can’t look up to him. He knows what he is, he’s proud of who he is, and while there was struggle, there was no on screen confusion. The same statement applies to Blaine. Dave and Santana take their feelings out on another people, and as much as I like both characters, I can’t say I look up to that, either.
Sam is a good guy. He’s humble and admirable, and you can’t help but want to hug him. Seeing someone that’s not angry, but not ready to shout it out to the world, either, would be refreshing. There are few good role models in the media today, and if it has to be a fictional character that inspires people, so be it.
Sam Evans is just a normal guy that likes football and comic books, and I think most people can relate to his average guy factor. Dealing with his financial situation and still being so strong was already inspiring. I think that the writers could take Sam in an extraordinary direction, should they decide to follow up on this storyline, and I think they could inspire the people that do relate to Sam. The happy, normal, seemingly “normal” people of society, that aren’t just what meets the eye. I think society could too, they just need a little nudge in the right direction. Glee is a hugely popular TV show with a wide range of viewers, and if they could reach out and say something, then maybe, just maybe, society would be able to follow their example.
So, now my cursor waves over the submit button, my heart pounds, and my hands shake. I know you’ll all be supportive, though, and that’s what’s giving me the push to admit things I’ve never admitted out loud. And I thank you all for that safety. ♥
I’m Alex, and I’m part of the 57%.
Savannah, 16, England.
My story is nothing special -I will openly admit that to anyone who asks. I would introduce myself better, perhaps opening with ‘Hi, I’m Savannah, I’m sixteen and I just like people.’ I’m not eloquent, nor am I confident, but I see myself in Sam.
I have yet to tell anyone about my sexuality -mainly because I’m not even entirely sure of myself yet. Someone very close to me once told me that pansexuality was just ‘cop-out’ bisexuality. It made me question everything about myself; if trying to come out at all would be worth it, worth everything I could lose. Because of this, I have never had the confidence to truly admit to anyone I know that I might be bisexual, but most probably pansexual. I have seen what happened to my best friend, who came out to the rest of my grade and was mocked behind her back for the rest of the school year, and I’m scared it might happen to me.
Brittany, the only real representation of anything close to pansexuality, is so fluid and settled with her sexuality that I can find no solace and similarity in her at all, as much as I adore her. She is nothing like me.
However, I have always related to Sam more than any other character in Glee, because of the way his friends mock him for things and the problems he seems to have accepting himself. I would much rather curl up with a Harry Potter film with someone I love than go out like the rest of my friends. I dye my hair to escape who I really am. When he was first introduced, I had hope. This hope disappeared over the course of season two, when Sam became straighter and straighter.
If Glee broke the ‘bisexual’ stereotype, people might not see at as such a shock that people like me (and people like my best friend) can like girls, boys and everything in between.
It seems a lot to rest on one character, but if Sam were to come out as pansexual, or even bisexual or gay, I might be able to find confidence in myself, and be proud of my sexuality and who I am.
I’m Savannah, but I’m also Sam. I am the 57%.
This is an article I found, that I thought could help some of your supporters. It’s all about coming out and accepting your sexuality.
Based on the numerous stories I’ve read, this might help out a few people.
Keep doing what you’re doing!
Alex, 19, USA
Let me start by saying that I have no idea how to even compare to some of the stories on here. I’m not very eloquent and I’m straight, so the lgbtq+ issues, while important to me, haven’t directly affected me, just my friends. But as I tried to think of something to write for this amazing project, I thought of something that hasn’t been touched on very much, one of the top fights people use for why Sam should be straight: the straight ally excuse.
Now I don’t even know how or why it happened, past just wanting to be a good human being, but I’ve always been an ally. My first memory of being a straight ally was seeing an issue of Time or Newsweek in the stack of my dad’s magazines that proclaimed on the cover that George W. Bush was trying to ban gay marriage. At age eight or so, I knew I was against Bush right then and there. I’ve never questioned it, even though I grew up in one of the most conservative cities in the nation, Overland Park, Kansas.
I’ve also been surrounded by the lgb part of the community basically my whole life. As a major musical theater nerd, it’s not a surprise that, stereotypically, I’ve come across many gay men, closeted and denying and out men alike. My best friend, the one person I can turn to for anything, is still deciding if he’s bi or gay, and while the announcement shocked me (he’s a lot like Sam and Kurt combined), I’ve never once felt anything but love for him since. I was one of the founding members of a group for lgbt youth and their allies, the only straight one. I’ve never questioned supporting the community at all.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that as a straight ally, I’ve never needed someone on TV to be there and be supportive but still straight. There’s no need to make a whole bunch of characters to represent that aspect of me in the media, especially on a show where there are already straight allies.
Mercedes, Tina, Rachel, and Quinn, while you can discuss their sexualities for hours on end in the fandom, are portrayed as straight allies. Puck, Finn, Artie, Mike, and even Mr. Schuester, while their sexualities have also been debated, they’ve all been portrayed as straight allies. And let’s not forget Burt Hummel, the stereotype of a straight male in America, who, while not quite sure how to do so all the time, supports and loves his son with his whole heart.
But oh, the debater cries, Puck and Finn used to bully Kurt! Mr. Schuester and Artie have said slightly homophobic things! They’re not straight allies, we need someone who has been supportive since day one!
I won’t deny it doesn’t help, seeing someone be non-homophobic just because, but think of the inspirational stories that actually change lives. If someone were, say, addicted to a drug, they won’t get inspired by someone saying, “I was never addicted to anything and have a great life!” That doesn’t make you try to be a better person. When fitness magazines want to inspire people to lose weight, they don’t run articles about people who have been fit forever, they show people who have lost the weight they had. That is much more inspirational and makes me want to make a change, seeing someone turn their life around. I know it’s not exactly the same, but I’d argue seeing Puck and Finn turn from bullies to supportive friends of Kurt is much more likely to make someone change, because they can see that even if you’ve had one viewpoint doesn’t mean you can’t change.
And if having someone who’s always been supportive is so helpful, check out Mike Chang. He has always been in the background approving/supporting Kurt. And Artie never had a problem being around Kurt in season one, supporting him from the get go. We don’t need a third straight ally who’s been supportive from the get go.
What we need is a gay man who isn’t a stereotype, a guy who’s just, for lack of a better term, a “normal guy.” We need someone who loves typical guy things as well as other guys. We need Sam.
Right now Glee represents lesbians who aren’t stereotypes with Santana, but can you name another major hit network show where a “normal guy” is gay? Where a gay man isn’t a stereotype or is homophobic to cover it? If you have any idea, please let me know, because I would like to see it.
Lyn, 19, Ohio.
I started watching Glee fairly early on in Season 1. Although quietly out to my friends, I was still very much in the closet at home. I hated myself and every day suicide looked like just a little bit better of a choice. Looking back, I probably would have killed myself if I hadn’t found Kurt when I had. I would have robbed myself of senior prom, high school graduation, college, and so many other things. I relate to Kurt so much, coming from a very similar background and seeing a lot of my own personality in that character. Through him, I realized that I deserved to be loved. That there were good parts of myself. That I could be happy again. Kurt was the reason I was able to pull myself out of my depression after years of never thinking I’d be happy again. His moment with his father in the fourth episode was what inspired me to come out to my parents, and it was watching Kurt every week that gave me strength while I dealt with problems I couldn’t have otherwise coped with. Only two years later, I’m happier in my life than I’ve ever been. I still sometimes struggle with my depression, but I know I have the strength to make it through anything. To say that Kurt and Chris are my heroes feels like an understatement.
I was already saved by a character on Glee, and I can’t really say that I relate to Sam very much. So why does it matter to me that Sam is gay or bi?
Not every queer kid out there relates to Kurt, Blaine, Santana or Karofsky. While I understand Glee can’t realistically ever represent everyone in the fandom, they have an amazing chance for Sam to really help people the way Kurt helped me. If Sam can touch even one person’s life the way I feel Kurt touched mine, the storyline would have so much meaning. I suppose what I am trying to say is Sam is a character that has the potential to send a powerful mesage. He was written to be a character that would change lives, after all. There are two types of gay/bisexual characters on Glee: The characters who are open (Kurt, Blaine and Brittany) and the characters that are deeply closeted and bully people to cover up their own insecurities (Santana and Karofsky). Many people do not fit either of these categories. Glee has a chance to save lives with this character, and it would mean so much more than having yet another straight ally on Glee.
I came out to my parents about a month before I turned 18. I remember my mom telling me I couldn’t know I was gay, because I acted so straight. So I know personally that there are a lot of people who ignorantly believe that if you don’t act a certain way, you have to be straight. It took a long time for my parents to understand feminine girls can be lesbians, the same way masculine boys can be gay. And I know they certainly aren’t the only people out there with that mindset. Not only would Sam change many lives in the LGBT community, he could really change how people view what Sue Sylvester would call a ‘sneaky gay’. A lot of people watch Glee, and if they saw a ‘normal’ guy who happened to like boys (whether bi or gay) and wasn’t a bully about it, it would make a difference. If I’d had that when I came out, it would have saved me nearly a year of pain as my family went through denial and struggled to accept the concept that their extremely girly daughter was a lesbian.
So this isn’t for me, but for people who are going through what I went through when I came out. It’s for gay/bi/queer/questioning teens who still feel alone and may be thinking death is the only option left. It’s for people who need what I desperately needed not that long ago. A character like this could easily save at least one person’s life. We live in a world where teens in the LGBT community often feel like suicide is all that’s left for them.
Give Sam the chance to do what Kurt has already done for thousands of people in this world. Let him be a hero to people who need a hero.
I am Kurt, but there are so many Sams out there who deserve a hero. I am part of the 57%