Stepping Out: A Gay Boy’s Tale about Growing Up
It all began in the fall of 2007. I was lying in my basement watching television one evening when I caught myself day-dreaming about boys. After about five minutes I thought to myself, “What are you doing?! You’re not gay!” and then I thought, “Well… maybe bi – No! You’re not!” Denial. The first stage is denial. As I caught myself thinking about boys more and more often, I started trying to ‘train’ myself to react to girls instead. It was a personal struggle that I had a very difficult time dealing with and keeping hidden. Finally, one day in 2008, after I failed to once again ‘train’ myself, I came to a realization. “I am gay.”
In October of 2010 I came out to the first person. The ball had started rolling. Once you come out to one person, you know others will eventually find out. So, one month later I came out to my friend. Although she was sworn to secrecy, she still told a few people. Awesome. My secret was starting to spread like wild-fire. It’s hard giving up the biggest and only secret you really have. Finally, my best friend found out. His discovery of my little, or should I say big, secret is what made me come out to my family.
I decided that on January 10th, 2011 I would tell my family at dinner that I was gay. Now, I’d done about as much research on coming out stories as a doctoral candidate does for their PhD, but it turns out I was still unprepared. I figured I would go into the experience calm, cool and collected. I was wrong. I started losing my mind hours before it was even time to tell them. My friend had to come calm me down because I was in such hysterics. Dinner rolled around and both of my friends joined me for moral support. One of them started it all off, “Now that we’re all here, Alex has something he’d like to say.” I couldn’t do it. My mouth would open, but nothing would come out. I just started to cry. Finally, my friend managed to say what I couldn’t muster up the courage to, “Alex is a homosexual.” Then there was silence. My dad who was in mid-reach for more food, turned to look at me and said, “I knew it,” and simply continued eating. My mother, on the other hand, responded in a bit more of an apprehensive manner. My brother cried and proceeded to move his bed out of the room we shared. There, it was done. I’d finally stepped out of the closet. On the bright side, it really made room for all of the clothes and shoes I’d soon be buying!
My Mom told me to be selective about whom I told. Of course, I disregarded her advice. Who listens to their mother anyways? But believe me, she was right. People started whispering and gossiping. Soon, I was the hottest topic at my school. I’m not going to lie; at first I enjoyed the attention. What I didn’t enjoy was what came next. I had lots of friends or so I thought, strangely though the number seemed to be dwindling. I initially found relief getting my secret off my chest but in this I found another burden – some of my friends were leaving me. Their opinions of me were changing, but it shouldn’t have been that way. I haven’t changed, I was still me. Gradually though I made some connections in the gay community and started feeling less alone. Over time, I was finally able to make new, better friends and things started to look up for me. By the end of the school year I had even found a boy I was actually interested in dating. It may have taken a little over a year, but I, and everyone around me, had finally come to terms with my sexual orientation. It’s not an easy thing to do but let me tell you, it is rewarding.