I first started thinking about my sexual orientation on a field trip in middle school. We were going swimming. I saw my friend changing clothes and realized I was looking at them differently. That was the first time I really started thinking about my feelings.
I was really nervous and scared. I didn’t know what I felt and didn’t know what my feelings meant. I grappled with it for months, which turned to years…eventually arriving at where I am today: A proud gay man.
At first it was hard to tell people. I couldn’t say it out loud–it had to be by email or by note.
I was scared people wouldn’t accept me. One day I was talking to my friend and he asked me straight out: “Are you gay?”
I got this blank scare—I’m sure he could see I was freaking out inside.
But he said, “It’s okay if you are.”
“Yes,” I admitted.
After that, I realized I had nothing to hide. I had to be proud.
I did have one major problem in middle school—a kid did say mean things to me and made me cry. A friend saw I needed help, and dragged me to the counselor’s office. I’m glad she did.
They called in the name-caller, and I had no other issues from him.
I just needed a friend. I needed to know that I wasn’t alone, that someone out there cared—even when I thought no one else did. That friend that dragged me to the counselor’s office showed me that it’s okay to need help—and honestly saved my life and sanity.
I still couldn’t tell anybody new tell sophomore year. I had trouble owning up to it until people told me it was okay that I was gay. Eventually, I could just say the words: “Yes. I’m gay.”
But I know it’s hard to go to this point, and may take people longer than me.
The main thing I want people to get out of this is be who you are don’t worry about what your friends will say. If they don’t accept you they really weren’t your friend and won’t be around much longer, regardless.
You’re not alone.
If you’re going through this and you can always contact me if you ever need help.
Sometimes you just need someone to talk to.
It gets better.
I am sure you have heard that so much—but it’s so true, so bears repeating.