THE INSPIRATION: In fifth grade, Brianna Davis was the new girl at school, so she was thrilled when a group of girls invited her to a sleepover. The night was fun— “we talked and played on the Wii,” Brianna says—until the group got into a petty fight over the game and one girl revealed something Brianna thought would be kept private. “She said, ‘we’re not mad because of the game, we’re mad because you’re gay, and we don’t want you around us’,” Brianna says. She felt hurt and confused. “I didn’t think it was that big a deal,” she recalls. But soon, the whole school was ostracizing her because of her sexual orientation.
Middle school turned out to be worse: Rumors flew and kids bullied Brianna for being gay. “I wanted to say it wasn’t true, but that didn’t feel right,” Brianna, now 17, says. “I am gay. I knew I had to be myself.”