Until this point in my life, I was never 100% honest with anyone around me. Neither my family nor my close friends really knew the truth about who I was and how I feel about things. To put an end to this vague introduction, I just told a handful of my friends that I’m gay. And I wasn’t surprised to see that all that I heard back from them is positive support, reinforcement, and a general closeness to them.
If you’re reading up until this point, it’s not hard to tell that that last sentence in the previous paragraph made absolutely no sense. Bad grammar and diction is not even the half of it. But I think what’s interesting to point out is that me coming out to my friends doesn’t make sense either. Hear me out. As much as I would love to continue to believe that we live in a society where the LGBT community no longer is persecuted, discriminated against, and generally uncomfortable with their position and role in society, that still remains to be true. What doesn’t make sense is that being a gay guy, I still have to announce to my friends that I’m gay, because I’ve spent the last 17 years of my life hiding from them who I really was. As much as I will probably only experience positive views on my coming out, it still kills me to think that I, and millions of other teens, had to deal with years and years of feeling like they weren’t going to be accepted. There is a reason why Harvey Fierstein once said:
Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.
And that’s because no one should ever have to spend such a large part of their life in silence.
In a perfect world, something like telling people that you’re gay wouldn’t be a big deal, and it would be an everyday occurrence. But in the real world, in what we experience every day, it is a big deal. Heck, I’m making an entire blog post dedicated to it. Because to me, it is a big deal. I didn’t nor will I ever get to grow up in this utopian society where it would be something completely normal. I spent all of this time, 17 years to be exact, to finally embrace the meaning of this quote into my life, and finally accomplishing that, I’m happier than I ever was in life.
I still haven’t come out to my parents. Like most people probably know, growing up in a very conservative Catholic family means that being different really isn’t an option. And as sad and horrible that I feel saying this, I really won’t be able to tell them the truth until they will be able to handle it. When? And I know it sounds weird to give it a specific time, but the right time is when I graduate college. In the present, I’m still a young guy, and I’m incredibly dependent on my parents to raise me, put me through college, and be there for when I need them. Loosing them at a time like this really isn’t an option. When I have finally moved into being a self sufficient adult, is when I can tell my family who I really am. Because at that point, they can either support me, or disown me. And I won’t be hurt if they choose the lather. If they choose to leave my side, tears will not be shed, hearts will not be broken. Only the feeling of an absence will haunt not my life, but theirs. Because it’s not my job to accept their definition of how I should lead my life, it’s my duty to find my own. Thanks Harvey.