I thought that maybe I should write something about my coming out as a gay men while I still remember. Quite a lot of this, if you’ve been around me for years, will be regurgitation but if you’re looking for help, ideas, or support, then feel free to read my answers to some questions. I’m going to do my very best not to go off topic too much, but if I do, just hang in there!
What was life like for me growing up? (A little background)
I grew up in a small town somewhere in Texas, close to Houston, Texas. It was one of those small communities where people knew each other (to a degree, because there were still thousands of people who lived there).
My parents were both in my life though sometimes I feel like they were both emotionally available to me only slightly. I felt like that I couldn’t tell them much of anything without getting in trouble for it (and I feel like that a lot today as well with my mother). I also grew up feeling like anything or everything I did wasn’t good enough. My sister was always my playmate though she was older. When she was getting to that age where she was no longer interested in playing with her little brother was really hard for me.
I played with Legos a lot. I had a huge obsession for computers, video games, art, music and such. I have always had a creative mind and to this day, I still embrace that as I am able.
I was never surrounded by anybody who was gay or lesbian. My family had their own opinions about some family members and when they came out, it wasn’t pretty but it was never horrible.
My childhood wasn’t very religious though I eventually began to go to the Church of Latter Day Saints through my teens. (I went to church so that I wouldn’t feel left out with everybody else. My hometown is full of religious people.)
When did I first know I was gay?
I honestly did not totally get it until I was in my teenage years, I’d probably say around 13 or 14. Before then, I was interested in girls because I wanted to fit in with everybody and being from a small town, that’s what I felt like I should do–be interested in girls. So I kept getting girlfriends and my sister would find out and tell my mother. Then, I was really embarrassed!
I can remember that the last girlfriend I had been with was when I was about 16 years old. She was sweet but she dumped me for one of my friends! I wasn’t really hurt because at that time, I think I knew that I liked men.
In high school, I was pretty much a skinny guy who didn’t play sports very well (except for soccer) and got bullied only a little bit. The bullying was never horrible and it didn’t make me not want to go to school. (What made me not want to go to school was AOL and the school told my parents that I could have graduated 2 years earlier, which they did not let me do… so I rebelled.)
I developed crushes on guys in high school but wouldn’t act on it. That is, until my senior year of high school. I was around 17 years old when I finally had myself a “boyfriend”. It was very short-lived for reasons I don’t care to reveal here.
I kinda did what a lot of kids in high school. I said I was bisexual (and I still think in ways, I am. Even now I don’t feel like I am 100% gay). Bisexual at the time sounded better than being a gay guy. Being so-called bisexual, to me, shielded me from the name calling, I thought.
I had some good friends back then who understood me and when I did tell them I was bi, they didn’t care. They were mostly in drama classes so I suspected that they didn’t really care anyway.
When did I tell my family?
This is when things got a little weird. My dad asked me one night if I was gay and I immediately said, maybe a little bit. He needed clarification so I said I was bisexual. He asked me whether he was going to get grandchildren and I said, “Well, maybe. I don’t see why not.” In my head, I was thinking to myself that I could easily produce offspring. I wouldn’t have to be with a woman to do that, but I didn’t want to get a woman pregnant just for that reason. He, then, told me to never tell my mom that part of my life because “she doesn’t like that shit”.
I finally told my sister about it at some point. I don’t remember if it was before that or after, but I eventually told her long before I told a lot of people but it was around the same time frame. I don’t think she meant it but she seemed to treat me a little different for that fact and sometimes she would say some pretty nasty things about me when she’d get mad which always made me want to curl up under a rock. I don’t think she knows this or not. We are okay about it now and I talk to her about who I am seeing.
Later, much later, I was on Facebook and one of my aunts was saying really nasty things about gay people and I ignored it for a while. Finally, I said that it was enough and came out to all my family on Facebook at the age of 32 or 33. That is when my mom found out and I didn’t talk to her for about a week after I did that and told her I was so sorry for doing that, mostly because my dad told me not to tell her.
A few of my family members on my dad’s side of the family stopped talking to me and didn’t want to have much to do with me. They would go to places like my aunt’s and grandpa’s funeral and my uncle would call me the “queer” of the family. I choose not to talk to him anymore because I have no room in my life for that negativity.
I tell people this all the time: I didn’t expect for anybody to show me pity or sympathy for my sexuality. I just want people to say “OK” then move on with their lives. I’d have to say that most of my family (besides the ones that I mentioned above) are fine with it.
No one brings it up and that’s what I prefer.
Who else did I come out as gay to?
Coming out to others is a process that doesn’t stop. Unfortunately, people assume that you like someone of the same sex unless they can tell or unless you tell them so I have to do it continuously. I’ve found that living in a big city in Australia makes this a non-issue because I surround myself with people who just don’t care or as I said earlier, “OK” with it.
As far as my best friend in the USA, I told her eventually. Her family, to me, seemed quite conservative and I was afraid that they wouldn’t like me anymore once they knew. I do know that they were afraid that I would turn my best friend into a lesbian. I think a lot of them totally understand me know and know that sexuality isn’t something that I can spread around like a cold.
How far have I come?
Luckily, I have always been the kind of person who totally understands that I am a little different. Not because of the gay thing, but in almost everything. I love my individuality. I love being comfortable enough now to tell people who I have a partner. The weight having told my family is an immense pressure off my back even if they have said they already knew!
When I was younger, I didn’t see the importance of telling people who I really am. Until I was in my early 30s, I didn’t really see the whole point of being able to get married. In so many ways, getting older has made me a little wiser, more open-minded, and stronger.
What if you are reading this and need support?
What I have to say is that people aren’t going to like you 100% of the time. Someone is always going to have a problem with anything that you do. I was lucky enough to have a family that mostly still love me but I know that it is not always the case with other people. I know sometimes different cultures, religions, and upbringings make every situation different. What I do have to tell you is this: Tell your family/friends/whoever about your life when you want to and when you think it is safe. If that means being across the world like me, then so be it! There is always going to be someone in your life that totally gets you (and they’ve known about you for a lot longer than you think) and they’ll love you no matter what.
Your sexuality is only a little part of you. It doesn’t have to define you and it doesn’t have to restrict you from living your life the way that makes you happy.
You don’t have to fit into any stereotypes. Be yourself. Love yourself and if you don’t/can’t do that, learn to love yourself! You can do it!
If you need support, hugs, or a message of encouragement, you know where to find me! You can always send me a message here or leave a comment here.
If you need a little list of resources, I have made a small list here which I will be linking to this entry.