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Coming Out Stories Gallery - David

I remember when I was 11 years old and sitting in front of the TV watching an episode of "60 Minutes" focusing on the recent HIV/AIDS epidemic. They said something about gays, and it struck me like a 10-ton boulder. I remember hearing that word at school. Kids used to tease each other so carelessly by saying "that's so gay!" or "get away, gay fag!". Truth be told, I also said those words at times. But I didn't know it applied to my sexuality. When I got into 6th grade, I realized that I was different, but not gay. I remember walking down the halls and seeing the football players making out with the most popular girls. The guys holding hands with their girls. But never once did I see two guys enjoying a kiss, or even holding hands. I always felt like I was different and rare at the age of 12. I went around acting the straightest I could. When I was with my family out in public, I would stare at a beautiful woman for no reason other than to make myself look straight. An! d later that day, I would cry myself to sleep, asking God with tears why I was the way I was. When I was 14, my freshman year in high school, the entire gay "thing" came into focus, and I realized who I was. I was a homosexual male. I remember in my third period math class, a boy named Eric. He was very open about his homosexuality, and I remember just sitting at my desk, ignoring the teacher, and admiring this kid. The thing that surprised me the most was that nobody really cared much about his gayness. Sure, kids would sometimes throw him the finger and say a mean word or two when they got really pissed, but he still had plenty of friends, and he was generally well-liked in my high school (it had about 1,200 students). Anyway, I grew really close to Eric. Over the months, I got to know him really well. I adapted to his personality. He wasn't the stereotype kind of gay. He didn't have a lisp, he didn't roll his eyes and hands, he didn't like opera and Broadway. And that made ! me feel good for some reason, because I wasn't embarassed t! o be around him. Well, one day towards the end of the 9th grade school year, Eric whispered in my ear: "Are you gay?". I remember feeling like someone had ripped my heart out; I felt empty and scared. Then, I looked at Eric right in the eyes and said "Yeah, I am." From there on, we started getting even closer… if you know what I mean. By our sophomore year, Eric and I had been sexually involved and going out with each other. I began to pick up so much confidence in myself and who I was, and it became easier for me to accept myself. I opened up at my school. Almost everyone knew about it, and they didnt' mind. Really, you'd think that with all these hate crimes and prejudices going on today, coming out would kill a man. But more people than not are welcoming to it. Well, I still didn't come out to my family. If Eric and I were to go on a date, it would have to be planned and very private so my mom and dad didn't find out. If I received an issue of Playgirl, I had to tuck it und! er my bed beneath an issue of "Hot Rod Magazine." I was watching Ricki Lake and it had a boy who came out to his parents and told how he felt better. I ran downstairs and told my parents my secret. They were stunned for a couple of seconds, then my mother came up and hugged me, held my face and said: "I will always, always love you no matter what." I cried that night, but it was more like tears of joy. When I was 16, a junior, Eric moved away to North Carolina. I was crushed for a while, but went on to meet many other gay kids my age around Los Angeles. Every time I met a gay person my age, my self-esteem would rise knowing I'm not such a minority. At the age of 17, I met Brandon, and we have been together for two years now. I can't put into words how much BETTER life has been since I came out. Happy, free, unafraid, satisfied… it's a world of a difference. I realized homosexuality isn't the nightmare; it's hiding your true self that is.

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