Ryant writes his final Straight For The Jugular column before running for Student Senate president. He writes about some of his experiences and leaves so parting words of wisdom.

I was 4 months old when my father died. I was 5 years old when I discovered that rape and sexual assault could happen to other people. I was 11 when I realized I was gay, also while tumbling through middle school. I was 13 when I discovered what it was like to empty your pockets and walk through a metal detector to visit a dear family member in prison. I was 14 when my only friend was raped. I was 15 years old when I came out. I was 17 when my freshman-year roommate told me he was moving out before Fall Semester even started because he asked me if I was gay and I told him the truth.

I remember having no confidence in myself. I remember being called a fag in the school hallways. I was told I hated my own people, that I wasn’t black enough, that I should have cared about sports more or tried to date girls more. I remember the immense nervousness in my chest when I moved into my dorm room freshman year because the chapter of my life before that day seemed so dreary. I simply needed college to be life-changing.

It has.

In Athens, I have been exposed to the kind and rich minds of others. I have jumped from student organization to student organization, shifting from shyness to outrageousness to calmness. I have gone frog-catching at 2 a.m. on Lake Hope and cried in Baker Center after finding out my best friend’s mother died. In Athens — along with the people here I love so much — I’ve seen that refusal to allow the world to just be the way it is. It has inspired me.

I tell you all of these things because I want you to understand why I go to rallies, attend more than 10 hours of political strategizing meetings a week, fall asleep with the thoughts of a better tomorrow and wake up with the weight of all the bodies unjustly murdered or silenced on my shoulders. I do these things because I have to. If I don’t speak up, I will explode. If I do not oppose the tide, then I am simply playing along with it.

In light of this being my last “Straight for the Jugular” — as I will now pursue a Student Senate presidential bid — I want to thank everyone who has ever read my column, thanked me in public or in private and showed any kind of support or even criticized me for being too upfront, offensive or brazen.

{{tncms-asset app="editorial" id="12a4f886-d73e-11e4-8941-67a77496550d"}}

I did not agree to write this column to appease anyone, because I don’t fear making people uncomfortable for the right reasons. My life and recent activism has taught me that it gets you nowhere. You end up in a world much like the one in which we live, where people are afraid to say or do anything off the beaten path.

As I say goodbye with this column, I’m also saying don’t waste your life. Call people out on their bulls--t. Take that crazy summer internship. Fall in love. Take risks. Plan a rally. Scream the truth at an incompetent administrator. Leave the easy and the comfortable behind; replace it with courage; replace it with love, conversations and trying to understand the experiences of those around you.

When you pass College Green and see a crowd rallying — join them. Listen. Use your heart because in the end, that’s what going “straight for the jugular” is about. It’s about living the truth and acting on it.

Ryant Taylor is a senior studying English, a coordinator for the Ohio University Student Union, LGBTQA commissioner for Student Senate and an activist on campus. He is the 2015-16 Student Senate presidential candidate running on the BARE ticket. Email him at rt923710@ohio.edu.

Comments powered by Disqus