Butch Zein: Stories of Inspiration - Who do I look up to?

Updated: Oct 22, 2021


I was asked to name a person who had a positive influence on my life. Really, there are so many that I can't simply pick. My mom, my father, my sister, many friends, people I know, who have made an impact on me throughout my life. There is one big one, who I will pick, who I call my "grandfather" and his name is Kelly H. Stevens from Texas. He was older at that time, where I was in my 20's and he in his 90's, and he was out as a gay man while I was struggling with my identity. He would explain his experiences and I was so fascinated and he inspired me to be more confident in myself. Plus, he was a reader, and a traveler through Europe, Spain, and South America. That inspired me so much that I decided to take a break from Gallaudet University and I went to travel in Europe and Mexico for 6 months. It really changed how I viewed the world. I went back to Gallaudet to finish school and I became a serious student and went to work. I really thank him, my "grandfather". If it wasn't for him, I maybe wouldn't have been serious with school and struggle with aimless direction. Wow, he really had a big impact on my life and I really am thankful for that. Plus many other people, too!

(Kelly Haygood