Stephen Botte MS ’79 came to the upper school campus in March to share with students his story about growing up and living as a gay man. Botte’s mother enrolled him at Harker after his friends at his previous school accused him of being “too gay.” He found a much more nurturing environment at Harker, which helped him discover his love of theater, a passion he pursued for the rest of his teens.
Botte later attended to Santa Clara University and came out to his parents at age 30. He met his future husband via the online dating service www.match.com, and married him in Honolulu. Shortly after, they moved to Austin, Texas, and adopted a multiracial son from a couple in New Jersey.
Although Botte feared at first that his son would not be accepted by his family, he was pleasantly surprised to find out that they lovingly welcomed him to the fold.
“Stephen’s visit to Harker was important because he brought home the relevance of supporting the LGBT community,” said Krishna Nandita, grade 12, co-president of the Harker Gay Straight Alliance. “Being a former Harker student, he had an immediate connection with his audience, and having a successful career and a happy family, he represented a fairly common ideal.”
Krishna felt the story about Botte’s adopted son was the most moving part of the speech. “They chose the agency and state specifically so that he and his partner could both have their names on the certificate and maintain a relationship with his son’s birth mother,” she said. “Also, hearing about how much his family adores his son really showed how a seemingly unconventional family can actually be quite normal.”