From a very young age I knew I was different from most of the other kids. I grew up in a religious family and since I could remember we faithfully went to church every week. I also went to a private Christian school for all of elementary. In 6th grade my parents enrolled me in public school and by 8th grade I knew that I was more attracted to guys than I was to girls.
Once I got to high school, I began dating a girl who was one of my very good friends. I thought that dating her would make me feel more normal. After a while I knew I wasn’t interested in her the way I should’ve been so I told her that we should just keep being friends.
Later on that year I had met Julian, a guy who was friends with one of my close friends at school. He was out as bisexual at school and everyone accepted him and loved him. Julian and I then began to talk more, and soon became close friends as the school year went on.
Once I began my sophomore year I had become a little more truthful with myself. I started to tell my friends that I was bisexual and they all accepted me with open arms and said they always suspected. As the year went on I made a few more friends. One friend I made was Brian, a guy who rode my bus. He really helped me get comfortable and accept myself. He told me that I shouldn’t be ashamed and I should be me no matter what. Brian and I got close and would talk daily and he would even stop by my house after work since we lived on the same road. After awhile he began to change towards me and not be as supportive. Around this time I met my first boyfriend, Bryce.
Once Bryce and I began to date seriously I decided to “come out” to my parents as bisexual, even though at this point I knew I was gay. I had already told my brother in person and he took it better than I thought he would. I sat down one night and wrote my parents a letter. When they were in the shower one night I decided to slide the letter under the door. After the longest 10 minutes of my life I heard my father yell my name loudly. I climbed up the stairs hesitantly with my heart racing. My mom was crying when I got to them and my father was fuming. My father yelled at me and lectured me for what seemed like hours. I vividly remember him saying “You are a man, not a girl. If you choose this, you can forget about having a father, cause I’ll be dead to you.” These words stuck with me and still do to this day.
At school, Brian began to hang out with a new group of friends. One time he called me a “faggot” then he and his friends laughed. I ran down the hall crying and didn’t really speak to him much after that. Brian and I later on got back in touch after high school and he apologized for the things he said. He has since come out and is now engaged to the man of his dreams.
The summer before my junior year, Bryce and I broke up and I moved to Florida to “start over.” In Florida I went back into the closet for the rest of high school. I got really involved in church hoping that I would be cured of my “evil” homosexual thoughts and feelings. I would go to sleep crying and hoping that God would take this away from me. I even dated another girl in hopes of turning straight, but that didn’t succeed.
In 2013, I met a guy online and had a long distance relationship with. In February 2014, I decided to move to Georgia to be closer to him. I moved in with my best friend and her mom who took me under her wing as her own son and accepted me for who I was. Soon after, I decided that I had enough of hiding who I truly was and decided to come out to my family once and for all.
On June 27th, while chatting with my mom on Facebook, I decided it was the best moment to send her another coming out letter I had written. It took me forever to hit the enter button but I managed to finally muster up the courage. After I sent the letter it seemed like an eternity before she replied. When she replied she said she’d loved me no matter what, but it’d take her some time. Later on I got a text from my brother telling me my mom was crying, which I figured she would. A few days later my mom messaged me and we talked for a little bit. I asked her if she had told my dad. She did and she said he started to cry as well.
Things weren’t the same after I came out to my parents. My relationship with my mother wasn’t as strong as it was before and my relationship with my father just got worse. After a while my mom and I began to talk more, but it wasn’t like before and I didn’t really talk to my father.
I have now been out for a little over a year and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I wouldn’t have had the courage to come out of it wasn’t for my amazing support system. They backed me up the whole time, showed me unconditional love, held me when I cried, and just were good people in general. Because of them I learned to love myself and accept myself for who I was. If anyone is struggling with coming out, just be truthful to yourself, try to have a good support team, and love yourself no matter what. It may seem rough at first, but trust me, it gets better.