Tyson Hall is a hero to countless students who feel they have no voice. As an openly gay man, he proudly speaks out against homophobia wherever he sees it. Hall believes his aboriginal heritage as a member of the Musqueum and Six Nations has provided him with a unique and important sense of community.
"I have a sense of belonging in my community and that really helps me feel proud," he explains. "I know that some people want me to go away, but I know the best thing to do is be proud of who I am and to never forget that being different is a good thing."
After graduation, Hall plans to become a singer and follow in the footsteps of icons like Aretha Franklin and Mariah Carey. Prior to that he hopes to audition for a spot in the nightly performance troupe at the Pacific National Expedition.
It wasn't always like this. Before Grade 8, Hall says he struggled with self confidence, but as he grew older he became more comfortable with himself. Today he counsels others facing discrimination to think first about what they have going for them, rather than what they're missing out on.
Hall says that staying positive is a key part of his mantra.
"You've made it this far in life. You have people around that love and care for you," he says. "Don't think of all the negative things, and stay focused on the things that matter."