Kerry Dale has always felt most comfortable around girls and women. He says from as young as age five, he knew he was attracted to guys.
“I always had girlfriends, I never really made a lot of solid guy friendships because there was always the sexual feelings that I had,” says Dale.
Dale was the valedictorian of his 2009 graduating class at Collège Jeanne-Sauvé.
“Everyone thought I was going to come out during my valedictorian speech because in the middle … I started tearing up over a quote from the musical, Wicked.
“I always had weird hair and I dressed really flamboyantly and so when I came out after high school everyone was like, ‘it’s about time.’”
Dale was known as confident and outspoken among his all-female friends, even though he avoided conversations about sex.
“The friends that I hung out with in high school weren’t very sexual, and if they were, they weren’t sexual around me.
“We were very innocent, I didn’t have my first sexual encounter until I was 18.”
Dale says he didn’t come out in high school because he was unsure of how his friends, classmates and family would react. He believes the sexual education he received was narrow and contributed to his decision to stay closeted.
“’Here’s how to put on a condom,’ and that was pretty much it during health class.
“I never really experienced a lot of bullying … which I was really happy about because I hate confrontation. There were a couple times where a guy called me a fag to my face but that’s about it.”
Dale says gym class made him feel especially uncomfortable about being gay.
“I was never a very sporty kid, I was an art freak. I didn’t want to be in the locker room because I would be subjected to guys who I was attracted to who were stripping.
“I changed before everyone went in the room or I would change in a different washroom in the school.”
Dale says gym class — and high school in general — would have been better if he had known about resources for LGBT students.
“I think every high school needs to share information about places like the Rainbow Resource Centre.”
He says his own experiences as a drag queen have helped him understand gender and sexuality.
“Not every high school needs to teach people about drag queens but I think things would have been better if I’d have known about stuff like this.
“If you feel you need to come out, do it because you’re going to be a lot healthier and a lot happier. You’ll realize that there are a lot more people that care about you than you think.”
Kerry Bertoncello-Dale, best known for his drag persona, Satina Loren, graduated as valedictorian from College Jeanne-Sauvée in 2009. Shortly after high school, he ventured into the world of drag, becoming Entertainer of the Year in 2011 and eventually being elected Empress XV of Winnipeg. As Satina, he now fundraises money for local LGBT charities.