West Milton, Ohio (1999)
When I look back now, I think, “Well, no duh - I’m gay!” I can recall buying my first Green Day CD, with a recurring fantasy where singer Billie Joel Armstrong and I run away together. I was young so I never had a sexual attraction to him. But for some reason the fantasy made me feel safe.
But I never really realized exactly what I was doing.
My best friend since I was age 1 turned out to be homophobic, and I repeatedly defended the gay community when he claimed that all gay people were going to hell.
Yet I could never bring myself to identify as gay myself. I knew it was there, but I just did not recognize it.
I can recall my parents finding gay porn on the computer two times and having a conversation with a boy on MySpace when I was 12. But when I came out four years later, they seemed surprised.
My first boyfriend was one of my best friends and we are still close today. I have taken guys to every school dance since I came out, and fortunately I've survived high school without too much bullying.
It certainly was not easy sailing, though, and I had many nights where I cried, ready to swallow a handful of pills and end it all. I'm sure glad I didn't!
And today, I am thankful that I am gay.
Being out has even brought my dad and me closer. I'll talk to him about boys while we work on his car together. It is completely ironic, but it's home.
PS: 12 years after my photo was taken, I made out with a boy in that same van. :)
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