I live in a very conservative town with a very Catholic family. People around here aren’t very open minded about certain people’s differences. This means that some people, including my family, might not be very accepting of one very important thing about me: I’m gay.
I’ve known this for a few years now. I had always known that something about me was different. It wasn’t until the summer before 7th grade that I realized what that was; I had come to accept that I was gay.
At that point in my life, the word “gay” had a bad connection and vibe to it. I remember the Sunday when gay marriage was finally legalized. I had to go to church that day, and the entire service was dedicated to the topic of gay marriage. I remember our priest saying how the country’s decision to legalize gay marriage was one of the biggest mistakes ever. In his opinion, two men or two women getting married was a disgrace to marriage. He made me think that being gay was a bad thing, so naturally, I became very scared. I would stay up many nights, thinking about--and hoping that--it wasn’t true.
I would pray for me to not be gay.
This went on for a very long time. Then one day, I came across a video on YouTube of a man, named Connor, coming out as gay. He went through the same thing that I was going through. I could relate to his story so much. He had realized he was gay at a young age; he was scared of it; and his family was also very Catholic.
He had the courage to tell his family, and they were very accepting of him. I have always hoped that when I tell my family, that they have the same reaction that his family did. I came to respect Connor, and I looked up to him.
He helped me realize that I was not alone in any of this. There are other people out there who are going through the same thing I was. He was the one that opened up my eyes and helped me realize that being gay was not bad. Now all I could do is hope that my friends think the same thing.
When I went to 8th grade, I knew that it was time to tell my friends. I mentally prepared for days, trying to find the perfect time and place to tell them. I was terrified; it’s all I could think about. I would make up these different scenarios in my mind about how I would tell them.
One day, I finally decided that it was time to stop thinking about it and just tell them. On November 3, 2016, two of my friends and I went to a school football game. We were sitting down on a bench, and I was the most nervous I had ever been.
Then I told them.
“I’m gay,” I said.
It took a few seconds for them to react, mainly because they were surprised, then they finally started to speak. Luckily, they both had good reactions: they still accept me, and it doesn’t matter to them that I’m gay. I went home later, and I cried.
I cried because of the joy I felt.
I was so happy that even if there are some people in my life who wouldn’t accept me, I would always have at least those two friends with me.
Now, it was time to tell my other friends. Over the course of a few months, I was out to all of them. Luckily, they all had good reactions. There were two in particular that I was the most nervous about.
One was one of my best friends. She is also Catholic and she is very serious about her beliefs. I was scared to tell her because I wasn’t sure what her opinion on any of this was. There was also another problem. My brother, who doesn’t know that I am gay, is dating her sister. I was scared that at any point she might accidentally say something about me and that her sister would tell my brother. I had to get over that fear, though. I had to trust that she would never say anything, and that she would have a good reaction.
So, I told her.
It was one of the best decisions I’ve made. She had an accepting reaction, and she has never said anything about me.
By far the most nervewracking was when I told one of my other really good friends, a stereotypical straight boy. I call him that because he just like every other masculine boy in our grade. I was so nervous! I wasn’t very sure how a guy like him would react, when one of his friends tells him that he’s gay. I feared he would have a bad reaction when I told him, so I tried to put it off as long as possible.
Eventually, I realized that I had to tell him, somehow. So, one day on the way to one of our classes, I told him.
He was very surprised, but, thankfully, he was accepting and never said anything bad. To this day, he never acts weird when he’s around me, and his friendship is one of the most special to me. I’m glad that he believes that a gay guy can be friends with a straight guy.
Even after all of these amazing reactions from my friends, I am still terrified. I have no idea how my family will react when I come out to them. A part of me is hoping that they would put their beliefs aside and still love me, but I am not so sure. If they were to accept me I would be extremely happy, but even if they don’t, I will always have my friends there with me, and to me that is good enough.