Note: I post this with my son's blessing.
It was not until I reached high school that I learned that I was going to hell for a sin that I did not understand, for a sin that I did not want to commit, and for a sin that I could not control. Being fourteen years old and totally believing that God wanted me to go to hell was very hard. I could not fathom how being gay warranted an eternity of pain and torture, as if this “curse” was not already enough torture.
It is both scary and painful to write about this subject; however, I feel that I need to. This aspect of me that I have kept hidden for so long is just now starting to emerge. I am scared. Hell, I am more than scared. Even now I have the urge to stop and throw this paper away, to write about something else, to pretend and forget. But this “fake” identity that I have lived is no longer working.
For some reason I feel compelled to continue writing. Being gay has helped form me into who I am today. Truthfully, I have never written or shared these things in a class assignment or with any of my friends before. This makes me all the more nervous. Nevertheless, I feel that I have so many things of real value to say.
Obviously, being gay is not a single formative experience. It is a collection of experiences that have occurred throughout my life. In order to understand how it has formed me recently, I need to give some background about this aspect of myself and the points leading up to where I am today.
I am gay. Being able to write this statement down on paper is an accomplishment within itself for it has taken me my entire life, a lot of pain, and a lot of events to be able to finally admit that I am gay. Only a year ago I would have never been able to say “gay” in the same sentence as my name for I was constantly denying the fact that I was, and constantly trying to change this aspect of myself. However, being gay is not all that I am about. I am about so much more. I am a normal teenage boy who grew up in a Roman Catholic family with two siblings and two loving parents. Yet, all my life I have known that there was something different about me.
For many people the topic of sexuality is a confusing one. It takes many people a long time of contemplation and wondering to finally figure out their sexual orientation. I, on the other hand, did not have this problem. I have known that I was gay for as long as I can remember. There was never any contemplation or doubt; it is just the way I have always been.
I have never felt comfortable to be me. I can remember praying, begging, and sometimes crying to God asking him to make me normal, to allow me to be able to grow up, have children, and to be a happy, accepted straight person. My whole life I have pretended to be someone who I am not to my friends, family, and anyone who has ever met me. Even now it feels awkward and weird to see myself writing about this openly.
This school is an amazing school, however it has made it difficult for me to be myself. Still, being a very “closeted” gay student in an all boy’s school, a very homophobic environment, makes it difficult for me to be open and for me to relate to my heterosexual friends and peers. I feel alone. I am alone. No one knows about my secret because I have lied to everyone in my life for so long that it only seems natural to keep it hidden.
I am a hypocrite. I am a liar. And I am superficial. When the subject of homosexuality comes up around my friends or people that I know, I bash it right alongside with them. Most of the time I bring up the issue of homosexuality just to put it down. I began to actually despise homosexuals to the point that I hated all gay people, regardless of who they were. I began to drive myself crazy. I examined every movement I made and I examined every word that came out of my mouth with the utmost scrutiny to make sure that it was as straight sounding and acting as possible. The fear of discovery consumed me. I COULD NOT LET MYSELF BE GAY!
I am a quiet student, however, I always do my work and I always try to contribute to class. With this being said it has always been hard for me to step out of my circle of friends to talk to and to meet other students. I am constantly trying to find the place where I fit in. Throughout high school I have wanted so badly to meet other people like myself. I don’t want to feel alone. I don’t want to feel uncomfortable. I don’t want to feel embarrassed. And I don’t want to feel disgusted to be myself.
This brings me to where I experienced a turning point in my life. This major event in my life occurred only a year ago over summer vacation. I was in
When I returned home from my
It was here that I also met the first person I have ever truly liked, the first person who loves me for who I am. His name is Kris. Through Kris, the college student in
A couple of months ago my parents found out about me being gay in a way that was very unexpected and unplanned, in an accidental letter from a university. Fortunately they are now dealing with it, and have taken it much better than I thought they would have. However, I only wish that they could have found out in a different way. During this time I have never felt more uncomfortable to be at home. I can’t help but feel as though they look at me differently, maybe even with disgust or pain. I don’t want that. It sickens me to think I brought this upon them, and that they had to find out from another source.
My parents have lost trust in me. This has been an unfortunate side effect of this whole situation. I feel as though I had no other choice but to keep this part of myself a secret, and I do not think it is right for them to feel as though they need to “watch over me” like a five year old. Just because I am gay does not mean I am going to be promiscuous or that I don’t hold the same value to a relationship that a straight person does.
My mom has been supportive. My dad remained silent. He does not discuss this or bring it up with me. I know he still loves me, but it makes it all the more awkward. My mom has blown me away by doing research on homosexuality and encouraging me to be safe and to talk to her.
Before my parents found out about me, the person I was dating was known as my girlfriend, and Kris was known as Kristine. For five months my parents wanted to meet “her” badly. For five months I had to make up new excuses why she would be late or why she was out of town. As time passed, my parents yearned to meet her more and more. They even joked around about not having met her yet.
The most painful part of this whole ordeal is the fact that when my parents found out I was gay all this changed. The interest to meet my “girlfriend” disappeared as soon as they found out that she was actually a he. There were no more questions, no more jokes. It just stopped. Maybe they didn’t overtly tell me that they didn’t want to meet him because he was a male, but it still hurts me every time to think that my parents don’t want to meet the person I am dating because of his sex. Does it really have to be this way just because they found out their son is dating another boy? HOW DOES ANYTHING CHANGE? My parents say they love me and want me to be happy, and yet they silently act as though me dating another boy is killing somebody or simply has already killed me.
I am still not out of the closet. I am waiting for the right time to begin to reveal to people this part of myself. My friends still don’t know me, and that upsets me. I don’t know how they will react, whether they will support me, still look at me as their friend and help me through this time in my life, or whether it will be up to me to venture through this alone.
I hope to tell my friends someday that I am sorry. Sorry for lying and being a hypocrite, and sorry for putting them in this situation.
I am only now just beginning this long journey of change. However, what is important is the fact that I am changing, that I have come to this turning point in my life where I no longer refuse to change. I still have a long and probably hard road ahead of me. However, I am strong. I want to eventually tell people who I really am, and I hope that they will see that I am so much more than my sexuality. I am a changing person and I will continue to change for the better. I am still discovering things about myself. I am my own person and I am happy. I can finally say my name and the word gay in the same sentence.
Final Note From Mom:
I did not get to read this paper until 2 years after it was written and he had left for college. He wrote this paper for a senior year class assignment and I cannot believe the courage it must have taken to do such a thing. His school was an all boys
I was shocked at the way he interpreted our behavior just after we found out. It hurt both my husband and me deeply to think he thought we looked at him with disgust. Nothing could have been farther from the truth. If anything, we looked at him and hurt deeply because he had been so alone at a time in his life when he needed us so much. If anything, our disgust was at ourselves for not picking up on his desperation and loneliness.
Happily, we are all doing well. We could not be closer. Our son is away at school. He chose a university located in a very progressive, open minded city and started school there with NO secrets. He is finally free, completely happy, and thriving. Life for him has never been better.