Akil Patterson Speaks about Openness to Wantagh Students


Megan Lucey, Reporter

Akil Patterson came to Wantagh High School and spoke about his life, October 28.

Patterson was a high school athlete who tried many different sports and figured out that football and wrestling were his thing. Although he was not familiar with football, he was tall and very strong so when he was told to “tackle the guy with the ball.” He did so and after playing for not that long, 32 Division I colleges were interested in him.

He chose Maryland where he felt he did not fit in. He was questioning his sexuality and was trying to convince himself that he was straight. Instead of dealing with the fact he was gay, he tried to hide it from himself by abusing alcohol.

This caused him to be very unhealthy and plunged him into depression. He transferred to California University of Pennsylvania.

But Akil regretted his decision about transferring to this school because he was basically the only African-American and he felt he stood out more. Eventually, he stopped abusing alcohol. He grew comfortable with his sexuality and came out to his friends and family.

Akil Patterson now travels the country and speaks to thousands of students encouraging them to be open about their feelings.