A gay high school basketball player in Kentucky got an unsettling surprise when he received his senior yearbook: he was omitted from his team’s tribute page while every other player on the team, including underclassmen, was pictured.
Dalton Maldonado, who came out earlier this year, wrote on Facebook about the discovery and why he thinks homophobia is to blame:
“My school also didn’t approve [of me being gay]. I would hear things that teachers would say, and many media outlets would say I “claimed” this happened in spite of the pictures and text messages I had from my coaches as proof. Then I had a person [affiliated] with the school tell me what they had learned about the school attempting to cover up the whole stor[y]. I recently saw my senior yearbook, I flipped right to the sports basketball page only to find my senior basketball picture missing…which devastated me.”
Dalton is his team’s starting point guard, and a star athlete. That hasn’t stopped homophobes at his school and others from attacking him, however, as Out Sports reports:
[Dalton’s] school has repeatedly refused to answer questions or disputed what Maldonado has claimed, despite various eye witnesses confirming that Maldonado was targeted by anti-gay harassment.
His deletion from this special spread in the yearbook is pretty telling. Maldonado has shared stories of discrimination by the school for the last few months, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that people at Betsy Layne High School may demonstrate deep-seated homophobia by excluding him from such an important honor for recent high school graduates.
Dalton is staying positive, despite the treatment he’s received, spreading his message to other LGBT youth:
“To the kid who isn’t out and who is reading this…it’s going to get better! You’ll see that it’s not as scary as you think and the people who truly love you will stick by your side and that’s the people who you truly need in your life. To the parents who have a gay son or daughter, accept them. You don’t know what they might already be facing. I want my message to be that life gets better so be who you are, embrace it! Just because you’re gay doesn’t mean that can stop you from doing anything you set your mind to.”
RELATED POST: Gay Basketball Player On Being Removed From High School Yearbook: ‘It Was Humiliating’ – WATCH