I have never had the opportunity to come out, other people have always taken that from me, but this is MY story and I’m proud of it. Please take the time to read all of it. 💖
People often ask me “when did you realize you like girls?” My response to that is, when did you realize you were straight? I think I always knew. It was always in the back of my mind. My first crush was a girl and I remember thinking “Wait, this is wrong. You’re supposed to like guys like this.” In middle school it started to get harder to ignore. I tried to push it down and change it. The first time I really realized I was different was when I went to women’s conference with my friend. One of the talks was about how gay people need help, they need to repent for their sins, and they should get married to the opposite sex. My heart sank when I heard that. It hurt. I remember wondering why people hated me. And I remember wishing I was normal.
Growing up liking girls in Utah has been more painful and terrifying than I can properly portray. Nobody around me was going through the same thing as me, and I felt isolated. Ive been told my love is a sin. I’ve been called a faggot. I’ve been told I will rot in hell. I’ve been told I need to repent. I’ve been told that I can and should change. I’ve been stared at. I’ve been fetishized. I’ve lost friends over it. I’ll probably lose many more. Marrying who I love was not legalized until 2015. I grew up around a religion that labeled same sex couples apostates and has historically damaged, denied, and ignored us. There was and continues to be hardly any LGBT representation in the media.
I would fall asleep every night crying to Same Love by Macklemore and Not in That Way by Sam Smith. I saw LGBT people getting murdered and assaulted in the news. I saw people forced into conversion therapy. We still have a president who has fought against us in 2020. LGBT youth are 8 times more likely to commit suicide and 6 times more likely to experience depression. In all honesty, growing up gay has traumatized me, but I wouldn’t change it or take it back. It’s caused me to feel depressed and lonely, but more than anything it has made me strong. I am proud of myself and I will never apologize for who I am.
Even if I end up with a guy, this will always be a part of me. Loving women is not a phase for me. I am beyond grateful for the people who have supported me through the good days and the bad, through the tears and the laughs.
I am grateful for the people who loved me before I loved myself. I am grateful for the people I know who were out publicly before me and showed me it was okay. Most of all I am thankful for my girlfriend, Libbie. We have been together for nearly 3 years now, and every day has been an adventure. She has struggled with this as many of us have, but she has ended up stronger than anyone I know. My journey to self acceptance is far from over, but I make progress everyday.
In some ways it has gotten better, in some ways it has gotten worse. Sometimes it seems like our society and government takes one step forward and then five steps backwards. It is heartbreaking that I still have to fight for my rights, basic decency, and empathy in 2020. But I refuse to stop fighting until things change. I don’t want the next generation of LGBT kids to go through what me and many others have gone through. If you love me, join me. Fight for me and people like me. Stand up to injustice. Vote!! My love is still illegal in 73 countries. My people are still getting stoned, murdered, assaulted, and imprisoned. Don’t ignore it. When you are silent you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If you “disagree” with who I love, keep it to yourself. You cannot love us but simultaneously not “support” what makes us happy. Educate yourself. It is not my responsibility to cater to your hatred. I love myself. I love the people like me. I will not be silenced anymore. I cannot and will not change who I love to make you more comfortable.
“Strip away the fear, underneath it’s all the same love”.
Happy Pride. 💖🏳️🌈
We want to hear your story–here’s how to share it with us!
Each Sunday we feature a new Coming Out Story on the Latter Gay Stories blog. Coming out is an important process that is different for everyone; some experiences are difficult; while others are heart-warming and inspiring. Coming out is rarely easy–but your story will help others draw inspiration from your own experience. We rely on weekly submissions to keep the Coming Out Stories alive and invite you to share your story now.