LGBTQ

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I have known since birth that I didn't identify as 'straight,' despite my best efforts to convince myself otherwise.  I knew from a very young age that this was socially unacceptable and I kept that information to myself for most of my life.  Growing up in the 90’s and being surrounded by straight people, I felt like I was the only gay person in the world at the time.  We didn't have the internet, online dating, or social media like we do now.  At the time, it was hard to believe that there was anyone out there like me or that there would ever be.  Thanks to the internet and people showing their support for the LGBTQ community over the years, I have learned that I am not the only gay person in the world.  It is accepted now unlike the world I grew up in.  Aside from this being such a taboo subject, I had enough on my plate to deal with as a kid and revealing this secret would have felt like suicide at the time - likely having detrimental consequences.  It was easier to keep this bottled up and lie to myself and the people around me than to deal with whatever repercussions would have resulted from revealing the truth.  I was a kid with many secrets and this was only one of them. Why make life more complicated than it already was?  

I spent most of my life avoiding the truth and had even convinced myself that I was straight.  I learned to like the opposite sex and found a way to make this normal.  There have been points in my life where I identified as straight and other times when I identified as bisexual.  While I could technically still consider myself as bisexual, I primarily identify as gay.  In my late 20’s I finally started dropping hints as to my sexual orientation but didn’t quite confirm it to people.  I have never liked labels or drawing attention about it, so I preferred people figuring it out on their own and moving on.  While some like to make a big announcement when they come out, I just wanted to blend in.  My thought process was - why does it matter?  Why can’t people just mind their own business and let people be who they want to be?  The primary reason I didn’t come out sooner (after it was more socially acceptable) was because I was concerned about how my family’s view of me would change.  They all knew me growing up and have only seen me one way.  (I consider my foster families as family)  While many may have suspected it, I didn’t want to be viewed differently.  I wanted their view of me to remain the same as it had always been.  Why shake things up and risk everything by revealing this very personal detail?

 

In my mid to late 20’s, I slowly started to walk away from any and all people who were once considered family.  I felt like I was never understood and it made me wonder why I even bothered to have a relationship with people who barely knew I existed.  It became clear that if I were to vanish, they would never notice.  As it turned out, I was right.   As I vanished, it became much easier to come out without worrying about repercussions.  I felt I could finally be anyone I wanted to be without feeling like I had to live up to certain expectations.  While most family would have likely been supportive, it wasn’t a bridge I ever wanted to cross with any of them.  I liked the me they knew and not the me who lived a double life.  I couldn't bear to see how they would look at me after this revelation.  Now I really don't care.

 

Over the years, many women in my family have come out as gay.  These women have been from all four of my families and not just one of them.  Everyone has so far been very supportive (for the most part) of all of them.  For me, I will be the very first male who has come out as gay in each family.  In fact, this website is the first time I have officially come out and confirmed my sexual orientation to anyone in any of my families - aside from both my gay sister and gay niece I told in confidence.  I don’t talk to any of my family, so what harm can be done at this point?  There are many friends who have known and many others who haven’t the slightest clue.  In recent years, I stopped caring what others think, especially on this subject.  The cat is officially out of the bag and whomever felt they needed confirmation, now they have it.  Kudos to those who “knew all along.”  You can keep that to yourself and be supportive instead of bragging that you watched someone hold onto a secret and suffer in silence most of their life. 

 

Lastly, on a side note, the very first time I tried to come out to my family, I was mad at my birth mother and told her I was gay, just to make her more upset.  I even added that my sister (her daughter) was gay too because I knew that it would send her over the edge.  Sure enough, I was right.  She ended up throwing a plate at me and told me that other family members would KILL me if they knew.  Like literally KILL me and not just saying it metaphorically.  Little did she know, one of the family members she claimed would kill me now has a daughter who is gay and is very supportive of her.  I later rescinded my claim of my sister and I being gay and played it off that I was only mad and knew it would upset her.  After this, around the year 2004, I knew I could NEVER come out to her or her family and I never brought it up again - until now.​