In honor of National Coming Out Day, I thought it would only be right to share my story with you guys in hopes that it can give someone the courage to come out and be comfortable in their own skin. I know things may seem hard and you may feel pressured to come out, but I’m here to tell you to come out when you’re good and ready. If it feels forced or if you feel uncomfortable about it then it’s best to wait.
Also, before I get started, just know that you’re not coming out to others… You are inviting them into your world.
So growing up in a Christian black household was not so glamorous nor did it feel like a safe space to allow myself to come out. Growing up this way made it seem like being apart of the LGBT+ community would be my death sentence to hell (which it’s not so you can rest easy). Dating back to my early pre-teen years was when I started to realize that I like guys. Because of the household I was in and the way I was being raised, I always tried to fight my urges and pray to God to get rid of “demon” otherwise I would be disowned and my ticket to hell would be confirmed. This was one of the causes of my depression. I put so much stress on myself to be just straight that it literally caused me mental and emotional turmoil.
Let’s fast forward a little bit to my high school years. Being in high school was a whole new ball game. It seemed that all the ugly, beaver-toothed, musty guys from middle school done glo’d up on the kid. Whew chile, the FINENESS! Because of this, fighting those urges became harder and harder… so I eventually stopped fighting it. I was more worried about making myself feel good that I was trying to stop things. I came out to an old best friend who turned out to be bisexual too.
I must say, she was wayyyyyyyyy braver than me because I felt like my soul left my body when she told me she was coming out to her mom. To her avail, her mom was actually very accepting of her. This made me find comfort in being able to come out to my other friends. Right when I tricked myself into being able to come out to my friends, this one guy at my school was openly out and nobody liked him (I learned later that no one liked him because he was messy… oop).
So, years went by where I was still praying here and there to make myself straight, missing out on many romantic opportunities with other guys. I used my crutch of talking to girls and being with girls to cushion the fact that I like guys too. I will never forget when a group of friends and I were hanging out and one of my bros asked, “Are you gay?” When I tell you I literally froze up at the sound of those words coming out of his mouth… I mustered up a straight face and nervously said: “nah bruh, you tripping”. Boy, was I a mess!
Ok so boom, days after high school graduation, I told myself that I was going to come out to everyone at college during this summer-bridge program… The lie detector test determined that was a lie! I put on my cis-hetero, straight boy performance on that ENTIRE summer. That summer was when I had a family away from my family and these people were nice. I actually felt comfortable around them, especially my Florida best friend Reese. I caught myself being able to confide in her about my feelings and urges towards guys and girls. That’s my role dawg. She was there to hear all about my hoe-festivities and people I became romantically interested in that fall semester.
Being a downlow hoe was all fun and it was a nice life to live until I met this guy who would come to change my life for the better. We became friends and then started “talking” to each other from Thanksgiving break all the way up to Christmas. I remember not being able to not stop talking to Reese about him. He’s AMAZING! December 27th of 2016 was when I decided to awkwardly ask him to be my boyfriend. During this entire time of falling for him, I started to think about all the things I wanted to do for him, all the love and affection I wanted to give him… But, I also realized that the things I wanted to do for him and stuff could not be done with me being in the closet. I felt like I would have been a burden to him. I’m not saying that you can’t have a healthy relationship if you or your partner is downlow, it’ll just be some crutches along the way. Expressing my concerns and how I felt to him, he was able to make things easier and made me feel better about coming out.
I remember I had this plan to go to the movies and tell my father then right after to go home to tell my mother about my sexuality. That was a wreck. I chickened out of telling my father in fear that I would lose my life (haha). When I got back home to get ready for New Year’s church service was when I was going to tell my mother. I remember telling her and expecting the worse when actually it was a moment of tears. I was in shock because I found out that she was in my corner and she was going to support me through thick and thin. At that point, I felt a sigh of relief and felt a burden lifted off my shoulders. I was feeling like I was on a freaking roll! With that weight lifted, I felt like hey, why not get rid of even more weight?
When the clock struck the beginning of the new year, I released an iOS press release to my Twitter followers and Snapchat viewers that ya boy is gay and ready to play (haha). The tremendous amount of support was overwhelming both on-screen and off the screen. Friends and acquaintances alike treated me like no less when I got back on campus. I felt free! FREE AT LAST! FREE AT LAST! THANK GOD ALMIGHTY I’M FREE AT LAST! As for the praying it away, my godmother told me “Who you are and how you live your life is a conversation between you and God. So don’t let anyone make you feel like you aren’t living life right.”
This was my coming out story and from that point on, things became easier and no guy, gay, or gworl can tell me anything now. If you want to know how the rest went down, then be sure to check out my “What Pride Means to Me” post. Inviting people into your space is an amazing and overwhelming feeling that can transform yourself into a more confident and livelier person. Not holding the weight of a tremendous burden is by far the best thing you can do for yourself.
I do hope that I encourage someone to get to a point where they can let go of that burden and be free just like me and countless others. Remember, take your time and invite people in when you feel ready!
If you’re a reader that’s apart of the LGBT+ community, share your story in the comment section below. Or if you’re an ally, drop a good word for those struggling.
Stay Gay and Geeky,
P.S. the guy and I aren’t together but he’s currently an amazing friend that is dominating life right now!