In honor of National Coming Out Day I thought I would share a little bit of my coming out story. I knew I was different when I was 7 or 8 years old. I remember being best friends with a boy named Scotty on my little league baseball team. He was a little white boy with blonde hair and blue eyes and he was very athletic and played first base. We walked home from practice almost every day and used to hang out at the public pool by our houses over the summer. He was definitely my best friend.
When I was 12, and started to discover sex, I realized why I always felt different when I was a younger: I liked other boys. I like watching them, I liked hanging out with them, and I enjoyed watching them naked in the showers! I also remembering thinking to myself, “You can never tell anyone.” Before you can come out to others you have to first come out to yourself. The process of self discovery that was started when I was 12 lay dormant for a long time and resurfaced again when I was 26. It wasn’t until then that I was able to look myself in the mirror and admit to myself, “You’re gay.” I then started the process of coming out and sharing this part of myself with the friends, co-workers, and family in my life I was connected enough to want to share this portion of my life.
Some of the friends that I thought would have no issue with my sexuality seemed to be the ones that took it the hardest. Friends that I was worried about having a bad reaction to my coming out turned out to the be the ones who had the easiest time with the news. I came out professionally the semester after telling all of my friends. I was teaching college at the time as a graduate teaching assistant and I felt great being a positive role model for my students. I then started the process of telling family. I was never really close with a lot of my blood relations. Distance and divorce and an abusive dad really weeded out a lot of close familial relations. That meant this part of the coming out process for me took a lot less time and energy than others.
As I conclude this blog today I want to leave you with the words and wisdom of Harvey Milk. He often quipped, “Come out, come out, wherever you are!” 🙂