Growing up as a queer Evangelical Christian was rough. It was a childhood full of shame, repression, and most predominantly, fear. I became convinced, like many others, that there was a way to pray my way out of queerness; which obviously didn’t work. Despite my best efforts to suppress it, I knew I was queer by the time I was in middle-school, but didn’t allow myself to fully acknowledge it until years later, during my sophomore year of high school.
During sophomore year, I was 15, and had just met my first serious boyfriend. Not too long after dating he became the very first person I ever came out to. Coincidentally, as he and I became closer, I was simultaneously becoming more and more comfortable telling my peers about my bisexuality. In retrospect, this was not an accident. I believe I needed the societally acceptable crutch of a boyfriend in order to feel comfortable enough to tell my friends that I was bisexual. I’m not proud of that, but it’s certainly the truth. It took me until 23, shortly after ending my nearly 8 year relationship with that same boyfriend to finally come out those who were closest to me: My family.
I had met someone new, and things were serious, and suddenly the veil that had kept my sexuality hidden for all this time was lifted. I had no more heterosexual normatively to hide behind. If I wanted this relationship to work, and if I wanted to be honest with my parents and my brothers, there was only one way forward. I had to tell them.
For context, I spent most of my childhood struggling to reconcile my idea of my parents and their beliefs with my understanding of the teachings I learned at church. In my mind, my parents were a vision of Christianity, one that I didn’t think would be accepting of my bisexuality. I spent years terrified of my parents finding out that I was bisexual and I know now (Thankfully!) that my fear was unfounded. That being said, it took everything I had to muster up the strength to tell my mom my biggest secret.
One day during the summer of 2018, on the way home from work, I called my mom like I usually did (We talk almost every day) and I told her that the “Friend” I had brought home to visit a couple weeks before wasn’t just a friend; and that I was a coward because I couldn’t just own up to her and the rest of my family and just tell them the truth sooner. To my surprise, she didn’t lecture me, and she didn’t alienate me. Instead, she comforted me and told me the same thing I had heard from her and my dad my entire life: I was perfect how I was, and she would love me no matter what. After that, she said she would take care of everything, and that with my permission, she could deliver the message of my sexuality to anyone else I chose. She unburdened me at a critical moment and showed me exactly what true support looks like.
At that moment I was able to fully realize what I should have known all along; my parents were just members of a church, not mouthpieces for everything I learned while there as a kid. Most importantly, they showed me just how much they are their own people, who, when given the choice between turning away their child and acceptance went even farther: They choose love.
Living in fear is never the way; and hiding behind the guise of something that isn't entirely truthful isn't the way either. Now that I'm out, my relationships (With everyone!) have never been stronger.
The most important person to come out to is yourself. Once you can start living authentically within your own mind, everything else will follow.
theguide.lgbt is not created by us for you; it is created by you, for all. We aspire to serve as a reputable guide to the LGBT* community, and at our core, provide a positive outlook for the future.