A Ray of Hope
Coming out was quite traumatic for me. I did not make that leap until my 23rd year. I would have done it sooner however I come from a family of bigots and homophobes. That’s not the only reason though. When I was 14 years old the boy I was seeing was beaten to death with a baseball bat. My parents did not know I was seeing him, and it’s a good thing as they looked at his death as a blessing that “the world was rid of yet another queer”. This threw me back in the closet with a thud. From this point on I dated women, impregnated my girlfriend at the age of 16, I guess I was trying to prove something to myself and the world… that being gay could not be tolerated. I managed to pull off the lie for many years, no matter unhappy and unfulfilled I was. I lied to my family, I lied to my friends and worst of all, I lied to myself. By the time I was 23, I had been suppressing my feelings for so long it had begun to take a toll on my mental health. Like way too many others, I tried to take my own life, unsuccessfully, thank God. When I came to, I went to my mother for help, and she pushed me away. This led me into a downward spiral of excessive drugs and alcohol.
Finally a ray of hope came when I heard about these all gay dances at a not so local arena. I went, I met people just like me and I felt, for the first time in my life, somewhat normal. It was there that I met someone and we started dating. This relationship was short-lived; however it gave me the confidence to go searching for more. I went down to Church St in Toronto, and thought I would check out the scene. While down there I met a very attractive man, and we hit it off like it was just meant to be. For the first time in my life, I truly thought I was in love. I felt like this is what life was supposed to be about. I felt in my heart that I had to come out, completely. I knew my Mom would be dropping my sister in law off at midnight and I waited up for her to arrive. When she did, I went out to her car and asked her to take a drive as we needed to have a talk. I got in the car, and my voice froze up. I did not know how to say what I had to say. Finally I came out with “I’ve met someone and I think I am in love” she replied with “She’s pregnant, isn’t she?” to which, I came back with “No, his name is Michael.” Well this just went all bad. She asked me why I had to tell her, why it was so important to me that she know, I told her that I was sick of all the lies and deceit, and that I was finally being honest with myself, and everyone around me. She at this point told me that she now had to deal with the death of her son as I was doomed to get AIDS, that she would prefer it if I had leukemia because at least she could accept that, and that I was no longer welcome in my childhood home. I left and never returned. That was in 1995. Almost 20 years later we will have limited conversation, Happy Birthday, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, what have you, but things are not, nor will they ever be the same. I will never feel welcome in her home nor will I ever make an attempt to try. The bridge is burnt, it’s too late. Sadly I have missed out on many family functions, but happily I do not have to accept their bigotry and intolerance. I am however happy that we are finally at a day where a young man or woman can be honest with their family and finally be accepted for who and what they are.