October 11, 2011


Robeij, age 4 months
Louisville, Kentucky (1987)

When I look at this picture, it brings tears to my eyes. The huge smile on my face, the dimples, and the innocence that was not yet ready for the MANY years of torment and suicide attempts that would occur later on in my life.

As a young boy, I did everything a boy "should" do. I played sports, I camped, I hiked, and I got dirty. Growing up was challenging, as I felt that I wasn't like the rest of the boys.

I was more emotionally driven, and after years of complaining about playing sports, my dad allowed me to pursue some band things and other musical endeavors.

Unfortunately, by the 8th grade,
I hated being alive.

And all the terrible things you hear about now? I experienced them.

I was taunted in the school hallways in between classes, and a bully actually tried to shove me in my 4 ft by 2 ft locker. My hair was pulled, my shins were kicked, and these bullies would even spit in my face.

I was called a f*ggot, a queer, a fudge packer and an anal jockey. At that time,
I felt as though these horrible boys took away my innocence. I tried to look to God for answers or some kind of help. But blinded by all the hate that surrounded me, I didn't see any kind of improvement. At 13, I attempted to kill myself, to get rid of what I felt like was a waste of God-given flesh. What was I even worth?

After a grueling year of the torment and the failed suicide, I turned against everybody. I was an angry boy with a shattered heart and no real outlook on life.

Years afterwards, I changed as a person. I found refuge in music and made tons of friends. But by college, I slipped down the steep slopes of depression and anxiety. I still was not happy with who I was, thinking 'If I'm a f*ggot, I'll burn in the fiery pits of hell. God won't love me and neither will my family.'

Can you believe that? I did.

My second suicide attempt took place in my dorm room at college. Fortunately, it was another failed attempt. God had a plan for me. I sought help and moved back home to FIND MYSELF. And there, I found that boy in my baby picture. I smiled again, my dimples showed, and my outlook on life had gotten better. I admitted that I was gay and proud, despite some insecurities I had at the time.

I am now a recent college graduate. I overcame battles of depression and anxiety. I have a wonderful family who loves me for me, and appreciates my journey in finding myself. I have the most amazing set of friends who have been there for all my happy, sad, and angry moments.

But to this day, I still get harassed and discriminated against. And it still bugs me. However, I look at them and smile - because I am who I am, and I will NOT change for anybody. I'm an advocate to those who feel they don't have a voice.

I am there for those who need the help and guidance to see that being LGBTQ isn't a bad thing. It's a rebirth when you finally realize that this is the real you.

The old me died and became ash; the new me was reborn from those ashes and is now a successful young gay male in today's society. I recently got a tattoo of the word EQUALITY on my arm, because I believe that equality should be given to all persons - no matter what race, age, gender, sexuality, etc.

Lastly, I must mention my mother. She is my heart. Because of her, I'm the person I am today. She was the first person I told and she will always love me no matter what choices I make in my life. She doesn't see sin nor distaste in my community. She sees only love, integrity, and respect.

To all those who feel like they have no voice - you do! There are so many people around that will love you for you. If you are bullied in school, contact the highest person you can. If nothing is done, go to someone higher than them. If you have to go all the way to the top, then do so. Make a difference in your community

Because those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter.
We all matter and we all will make a difference in the world.
Mother Monster said it best, "... 'Cause baby, you were BORN this way."

Remember that. I LOVE YOU.

Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
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teekay said...

Robeij.... you are one of the most amazing people I know. You are so beautiful, inside and out! I am so proud of everything u have accomplished and are proud to call u my friend! I love you!
<3 TK

Monica Hill said...

You were such a sweet baby then. And you are even more beautiful now. Thank you for sharing your story, it brought tears to my eyes. I'm a straight daughter of a gay man who lost him less than 2 months after he came out. Now one of my greatest passions is the pursuit of equality.

PS: I have been thinking of a tattoo for a long time, my 1st one. Your tattoo is genious! It sure has inspired me.

BillSargent said...

It's nice that you're trying to cling to the god thing, but seriously, that's the root of the problem with bullying and taunting. Religion teaches people to behave this way. Clinging to it, is hypocrisy. The bible's own teachings teach the followers to not accept you. To not accept a LOT of people. My advice? Get rid of it. Free yourself of that hatred as well. Good luck! Continue to grow and broaden your mind. And you won't be able to do that with religious dogma against you.

Ginger Holt said...

Robeij...my brother (best friend) is gay and says he has beem since he can remember. I love and admire him more than can be imagined because he had to go through hell and back to be who he is. Our mom and dad know he's gay and couldn't love him more. I am so relieved you found your way and my brother found his way. May your life be blessed and long. You are amazing! Love G.H.

miss krissy said...

Robeij, thanks SO much for being so brave and sharing your story. It is even more poignant on National Coming Out Day! I am so glad you are here to share it. I wish you much love and happiness going forward. We were all born this way, baby!! - Kristin

lilnugget said...

What an encouraging story! I really enjoy, too, that you still felt as if God had a plan for you during one of your many attempts at suicide. I really struggle with faith and how homosexuality does not have a place in Christianity. I believe in God, but I do NOT in any way believe that he wants his people to hate as many feel entitled to do so (even though they wrongfully don't see it as so). I am personally not LGBTQ, but I want to be an advocate for the community in every and all ways that I can. Not much more upsets me than the pain and criticism members that the LGBTQ community faces. So, thank you for being courageous in sharing your story. If you have any advice for advocating for the LGBTQ community or teaching tolerance, especially for teens (I work at a local Boys and Girls Club), I'd love to hear it! :)

Tatiana said...

I love this and even though i don't know you i feel like i do... you were beautiful then and now... you remind me of a pheonix.. dies but is reborn brighter vibrant and more beautiful than before.. =)

Unknown said...

Don't worry about the length of the entry. Spill your guts these stories need to be told!

Zedneram said...

Thanks for posting. I love this story and I know you are helping more people cope with a lot of the same issues. You seem to be a really beautiful person inside and out. I would love to repost this if it's ok with you.