This year’s Pride marks my 10 year anniversary of coming out. Ten years ago, I never could have imagined my life as it is now. I didn’t know if I’d get married. Children seemed so out of my realm of possibilities. It’s rare that I really share some of these details, but I thought that it would be good to document what I can remember because Lord knows my memory isn’t getting any better. This gets a little more intimate and personal than I usually share and I am actually kind of nervous to put it out there. So tread gently.
I remember the fear I felt the first time I acknowledged an attraction to a girl. I have one memory of me sitting, ironically in my closet, 13 years old (woah) and just crying and crying. I didn’t know a single out person in my small town. It was a lonely feeling. It was in that closet that I prayed for these feeling to go away. I didn’t want to go to hell.
A few short months later, I remember passing notes to my first girlfriend as we both talked through what it was like to keep this huge secret. One day I told a girl on my tennis team. The next day, the whole school knew. I think I had my first anxiety attack that day. A girl that I sang with in choir handed me her book of Mormon with some passages highlighted. I didn’t take it from her.
My church held an abstinence camp one Valentines Day weekend. I went with my ukulele to help sing in the worship band. I met a girl like me. When we got home we tried to date in secret, but she eventually broke up with me for a boy. That boy told his mom about us, who in turn told her dad about us, who then threatened to out me to my parents. I think I had my second anxiety attack.
By the time I was a senior in high school, I knew that I wanted to tell my parents myself and I knew that I wanted to do it before I left for college in a few short months. I was the treasurer of my high school’s first Gay Straight Alliance and we were participating in Day of Silence. After I was finished with my vow of silence, that evening I sat down with my parents. I came out to them as bi (I didn’t have words then to say pansexual, so this was how I identified). There was a lot of silence at first. Then there were a lot of questions. Then crying. After that day, we never talked about it again for two years.
Fast forward to present day. My family has grown to be my supporters and advocators. They have embraced me and my wife 10000000% and absolutely love being grandparents. But I often think about the scarier years. The fear of being outed, people gossiping, the isolation and loneliness. At 27, I know that I am lucky to be living in a world with an all time high level of compassion and support for LGBTQ. I can’t even imagine being gay 20, 30, 50, 100 years ago. I GOT to come out and it was hard at first, but now it’s ok. It’s more than ok, it’s amazing. I realize that I am fortunate in my situation and that there are many out there that are still living in secret and fear. I’ve only ever been out in the proud Pacific Northwest. There are times where Dayna and I don’t hold hands in public, but over all, I feel safe and supported. I felt extra celebratory this Pride month, and bought us some fun shirts from BOLDlook Apparel. It’s a super cute clothing line run by two moms. It’s just one way we are embracing Pride this year. We are missing our other Mama who is away at drill sergeant school. But we wanted to throw this somewhat personal post out to the world and say HAPPY PRIDE!!!!!