Wanderson, age 6
São Paulo, Brazil (1983)
If you are a gay teenager, you might have thought about ending your own life.
I know I did. I was raised believing that being gay was wrong and that getting married, having kids, and forming a family was the only thing in store for me.
My dad used to yell at me to talk like a man. I tried really hard but couldn't do it, and as I was just a child, why should I sound like an adult?
As a teenager, it got worse since as my friends started dating, and I was sure that I'd meet the right girl, and she would make me straight. Of course, that never happened and I started feeling depressed all the time.
All I wanted to do was die so the pain would stop.
And then I fell in love with my best friend. I was dating - or trying to date - a girl at the time, but my friend was all I could think of. I can't describe the confusion and pain I went through, and being only 16, couldn't even think about coming out or accepting what I was.
Years passed, and when I turned 23,
I decided it was time to have a conversation with me, myself and I.
And it was a different Wanderson that heard me say: 'I’m gay!' I smiled and he smiled back, and then all was much lighter and free. After that I started coming out to my friends, and every time I did, I felt better and better.
At home, everything was basically bad. And just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, someone told my mother about me. That drove her away from me, as she was incapable of handling a gay son. My sister found some love letters I'd sent to a man, and she didn’t handle it well either. I decided to tell my brother who was a teenager, and he was the only one who really tried to understand me.
After that I came to know a world that I never knew existed. I had new friends that were fine with my sexuality, and I finally found a man that showed me what it meant to be in a gay relationship. It didn’t last long, but it made me grow up and helped prepare me for who is now the love of my life - Alexandre.
He taught me about pride and not being afraid of who you are. Today, my mom sees me with new eyes, as someone who's also formed a family. And my sister and brother are closer to me than ever before. It wasn’t easy, but it was definitely worth it.
Today, I'm 34 and I do not wish or want to be anything but GAY! Through everything I've built, the friends I have and ones I've lost, and all the obstacles I've moved out of my way, it made me a better man.
Thus, I must tell you: it gets better! MUCH BETTER!!!
Wanderson's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Richard Chamberlain (in "The Thorn Birds")