Youth bares his soul to education minister

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Describes struggles of being gay/bisexual

A Grade 11 Olds High School (OHS) student gave an emotional presentation to Education Minister David Eggen Thursday, outlining his struggle to come to peace with who he is – gay/bisexual.

Parker Mogck made that announcement during a meeting between Eggen and the OHS gay-straight alliance at the school.

Mogck came out to some members of his nuclear family last April, including his parents and siblings, but still hasn’t done so to other members of his extended family, although he anticipates doing so.

Mogck said his struggles really began in Grade 6.

“I had always felt different from the others,” he said, adding “I was out of my comfort zone at all times, it seemed.”

“I started to have romantic feelings about other boys, which in a Catholic setting is frowned upon,” Mogck said.

He asked some boys if they too felt that way. They said, “no.”

“I then realized that who I was was not considered normal and started to suppress who I really was for fear of being bullied,” he added.

“I put on a mask every day to make others believe I was straight and ended up having nobody to talk to.”

Mogck said his life began to get better when he figured out in Grade 7 that he was bisexual.

“This was a revelation for myself as I finally found somewhere I belonged and a title that suited who I was,” he said. “I no longer felt like the weird kid who liked girls and boys.”

The decision to come out to his family was a difficult one, Mogck said, because “I grew up in a very traditional and conservative household with conservative views.”

Mogck said when he did come out to them, he received a mixed reception and although he has revealed his sexual orientation to one set of grandparents, he still hasn’t come out to all.

Eggen and his government passed a law last fall that mandates GSAs if students want them and does not allow LGBTQ students to be outed if they don’t want to be.

Mogck told Eggen creation of the OHS GSA has been a godsend, especially for youth who come from “conservative families.”

During an interview with the Albertan, Mogck said despite having begun coming out last spring, it was “definitely tough” to give his speech Thursday, especially in front of Eggen.

However, he added, “I feel like this was definitely an experience I needed to have, because now I’m really comfortable with who I am.”

Mogck was asked if he fears Bill 24 — the GSA mandating law — will be rescinded if, as polls suggest, the current government will be replaced by the United Conservative Party in 2019. That party voted against the bill.

“I don’t think they could live with themselves if they went backwards in doing this because there are so many people that are affected by GSAs,” Mogck said, adding demographics are on the side of the LGBTQ population.

“As we age, we’ll become the major voting force, and to go back on us would be a huge downfall to them politically,” Mogck said.

As for his family’s political views, “I definitely don’t think I’ve changed their party, but I do believe I have changed their stance on LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, transgender and queer) issues,” he said.

Mogck said as a result of his struggles with his sexual orientation, he wants to become a lawyer.

“Being able to stick up for the little guys in the LGBTQ community through the law would definitely be a big win for me,” he said.

Eggen was moved by Mogck’s speech.

“I think his explanation of his journey didn’t fail to, I think, move everybody here in the room,” Eggen told the Albertan.

“It reiterates the importance of having a safe and caring place for students to be, and to have the security to know that they can be there in confidence until they come to a place in their own life where they want to share their sexuality and circumstances in their life.

“I mean, it’s just the same as any of us, right? We need to be safe and secure in order to move forward and to make progress in our lives. That’s just made even more so when you’re young and you’re making lots of progress in your life, and it changes very quickly,” he added.

“I put on a mask every day to make others believe I was straight and ended up having nobody to talk to.”
PARKER MOGCK
GRADE 11 OHS STUDENT

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Doug Collie

Doug Collie joined the Olds Albertan in 2014 as editor. He covers municipal politics, news, community events, arts and entertainment and sports happening in and around Bowden and Olds.