It was 1987, the height of the AIDS epidemic, the US government turning its back on gay and bisexual men, the visible formation of ACT UP, and the coming out of an 18-year-old Catholic, suburban, queer kid with as many hormones as he had guilt.
It was 1992 when I hit puberty. The Internet was just becoming a thing. The only exposure I had to homosexuality or even the concept of homosexuality was basically the TV show “Will and Grace” and perhaps reruns of “Three’s Company” – not that “Jack” was actually gay. I grew up in a very religiously conservative household and community.
In This new century we hear about people coming out and how greatful they are to be themself but not everything goes as planed listen to my story and learn.
I’m sure if you talk to most LGBTQ people, they will say that coming out is an ongoing process. We come out to our friends, our family and our co-workers. Not necessary in that order, sometimes over the course of several years or maybe all at once. Having come out in my late teens and early 20’s, I didn’t realize I would have to face that fear of rejection again in my early 50’s and it would be to a bunch of 5th graders.
Liverpool England 1996. Coming out for me was a joyous experience. I’m not talking about coming out to family, that was a shared open wound that would be continually picked at, in fact a few months after coming out I was forced to leave them behind and begin a new life without them.
I’m sitting here reflecting on the last ten years as an adult. As a teenager, I grew up watching Sailor Moon and DragonBall Z. I played a lot of videogames as a kid and I didn’t like physical games/sport. But I was also the kid that sat alone for lunch. I was the kid that no one would talk to.
I knew at a very young age that I was not like other boys my age. I never liked the typical “boys toys, ” and I would always rather play with dolls and other toys typically associated with girls. Then when I was 12 years old, I told the ﬁrst person I knew at a very young age that I was not like other boys and when I was 12 years old I told the ﬁrst person that I was gay, and it was a huge relief.