My journey started super early, because I always sort of knew I was gay, it just took me a while to realize/ accept it.
In 7th grade, I dated a girl for a week (you know how middle school relationships are) because I was impulsive and really just wanted to be in a relationship. The problem, though, was that I never accepted myself. I wasn’t able to say that I was gay. I never even really came out to my friends. I sort of just said that I liked a girl, and they didn’t bat an eye (and for that I consider myself super lucky). But once word got out about this “relationship,” so many of my peers questioned me, asking me if I was a lesbian or if I was bisexual. I always answered with “no, no, I’m bi” because in my head that meant that I was still “normal.” So basically, I was forced out of the closet to my school before I was really ready to come out to myself.
Even though I was technically out in 7th grade, I didn’t come to terms with my sexuality until sophomore year. This is very cliche, but I remember looking myself in the mirror, and literally saying to myself “I’m gay,” over and over. Even though I was out for 3 years, it was still the first time I said it out loud to myself and it actually meant something to me.
I think this is a good time to mention that I come from a Christian household. My uncle, who unfortunately passed, was gay, and I was always scared that since my grandparents didn’t really accept him, that meant my parents wouldn’t really accept me. I remember one specific time, there were two men dancing with each other on screen. There was definitely no way in telling if either of these individuals were gay, but my father just scoffed. I asked him what was wrong, and he pointed to the screen and said “you know what’s wrong with that.” I think that that small interaction is really what scared me away from coming to terms with my sexuality.
Sophomore year I found a real girlfriend, and I thought that it was time I told my parents that I was gay. I knew my mom wasn’t homophobic, but I was terrified because I was her only girl (I have three older brothers). I always felt like I disappointed her because I was never a “girly-girl” or anything like that. There have been numerous times where she would yell at me for not being feminine. Anyways, I told her that I would potentially be going to prom with someone. She listed off the names of boys until I stopped her. Then she guessed my girlfriend at the time, and I broke down. She also started crying, and she told me that she would always love me, and gave my that typical parent response, which I actually appreciated.
I never told my dad that I was gay, my mom did. She told me to tell him, but she knew I wouldn’t be able to. Then, we didn’t talk for 3 months. Looking back, I realized that he wasn’t mad at me for being gay, he was upset that I couldn’t tell him myself. Our silent-treatment broke one day when I started playing his favorite song on guitar, and now he actually acknowledges the fact that I’m gay.
I never told my brothers explicitly that I’m gay, I just told them that I had/have a girlfriend, and they didn’t question it.
I consider myself super lucky to have the people that I have in my life. However, the fear will always linger with me whenever I meet new people. I don’t know if anyone actually read this or not, but I hope that my story gives everyone else out there some form of hope. It’s important to realize that you will never be alone, no matter how lonely you feel. We’re lucky enough to be growing up in a generation that has resources, like Start the Wave, that acknowledge how important representation is.
I know that I am super thankful that I have role models, like Dominique P-C, that are so determined to make people feel less alone. I speak for myself when I say that organizations like this really do save people.