A Message from Sandy – AFYT Ensemble Member
I was a sophomore in high school when I finally came to terms with my identity as a queer girl. I go to an elite private school on a scholarship, so it was already hard enough not fitting in with my classmates when it came to financial background and race. Once I had come out to myself, I felt even more different than I had before. I thought I’d be able to handle the situation on my own. If I just went to school, kept quiet, did my work, and said the right things, I’d be fine.
The extracurriculars at school were fine, but sometimes I felt like I could be doing something more productive with my time. I searched “Chicago Youth Theatre,” and About Face was one of the first things to pop up. I checked out the website and saw they were specifically a “queer youth theatre.”
At the very first About Face Youth Theatre workshop I attended, it felt a little strange in that all of the members were already done with high school and, in my eyes, were adults out in the “real world.” But, immediately, they welcomed me into the space and opened up the conversation. I never felt out of place or anything! I started coming every weekend and got to bond with the ensemble members. Over time, they became my chosen family, encouraging me to speak up about the issues that matter to me while providing endless support and love. The AFYT family truly changed my life.
I’m nearing the end of my senior year of high school, and college has been on my mind a lot. Many of the schools I’m applying to are thousands of miles away from Chicago, and I’m nervous that I won’t find a space like this again. But, I know that no matter where I go, I can always come back to AFYT — they’re always just a phone call away.