Who’d have guessed — the founder of Scruff is just like all of us, in that he had a rough time growing up and was mercilessly teased.
It’s tempting to think “oh, I was such a unique outcast as a kid,” but the truth is that all people are outcasts, no more so when they are teenagers. In the case of Scruff founder Johnny Skandros, high school classmates gave him the usual business: harassment, an occasional fight, teachers turning a blind eye.
That’s not to say that this stuff should just be common or accepted. Of course there should be programs in place to prevent it. But teenagers are ruthless horny monsters, and if they’re not torturing each other about one aspect of sexuality they’ll find another.
Johnny reflects back on his difficult teen years in a new interview, and also reveals that his mother raised him herself because his father drifted away. Apparently his dad resented that being pregnant changed his mom’s figure… evidence that some people never grow out of being horrible.
When he came out to his mom at age 15, she was encouraging, and eventually he met friends who welcomed him, including another gay student. That kid had the honor of having a cigarette put out on his face at one point — some truly terrible treatment.
But it was in his early 30s that Johnny started looking for a way to help the gay community make connection, and that’s when Scruff was born. Once the victim of discrimination, now he’s a bridge for gay guys to connect. And also, to filter each other by race.