December 04, 2014


Shaun, age 6
Johannesburg, South Africa (1993)

As far back as I can remember, I always knew that I was gay and that I liked boys. Interestingly enough, within myself I never had an issue with it. But I was always worried by what other people would think or say. This is something so ingrained that I still worry about it to this day.

The problem with society is that being gay is regarded as not "normal." I read an example once that’s stuck with me throughout the years because it is so true: 

If an adult sees a boy and a girl playing together, they'll often ask playfully 'Is she your girlfriend?' or visa versa. However, if it's two boys or two girls playing, nobody will ever ask them that same question. 

These subtle hints in every aspect of our culture cause being gay (and the coming out process) to be very difficult for many of us.

I first came out to my friends as a senior in high school. 

They took it without even batting an eye, and my best friend’s biggest issue was that I hadn’t told her earlier.  I'm fortunate that many of those people remain close friends to this day, and it is directly a result of their acceptance that I am the person I am today.

I ended up having to come out to my family, because I had gotten myself into a situation where I needed their help. And without them knowing the boy involved was in fact my boyfriend, they wouldn't be able to understand the full situation. 

My mom took my coming out the best. She took some time to process it, but today she is my number one cheerleader. But my dad is the unsung hero in my life story. He immediately realized my situation and fixed it quicker than I would have ever imagined possible. 

I will forever be grateful to him for standing by me during that time.

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


Robert W said...

Shaun, I admire you and your family.

Jeremy P. Shaw said...

I'm proud of you, Shaun. You definitely made the right choices. You're very brave and more of a man than those haters, hypocrite religious fanatics, and ignorant, intolerant people are or will ever be. You clearly have more love in your heart than they do. I'm basically in the same boat as you so I know it feels to be called derogatory names about my orientation and other things. I was bullied all throughout my childhood and teen years. It's not easy but it's important for us to be strong, to be honest with ourselves AND others at all times! I am so glad that you are alive and well and had all of the support that you had. You and everyone else deserve nothing less than support from their family and the people that they consider their friends.

Unless I'm mistaken, I believe that I am only a few years older than you (old enough to be an older brother) but I think that if I had known you back in the 90s, that I would have given you an innocent hug and kiss on the cheek. I have to be completely honest, you are SO CUTE in your photo! You have also given me the impression that you are intelligent; sweet; and honest which, to me, is even more important than physical looks. I wonder what it would have been like to know each other and be friends back in the day. Oh well.

This was a lovely blog and I enjoyed reading thoroughly. You're a strong, incredible, intelligent young man. You're beautiful and perfect just the way you are. Be proud of that, brother. Stay strong and keep up the great work. Never change, never give up, never stop being yourself, and spread the word to others. Much love to you, God bless you, and if you're still looking for allies or even true friends, then you may contact me. Sending you love.