UCI LGBT Resource Center

Coming Out Story 5

Section 1

My story begins when I was five and I was taken to my first ballet class. Even though my mother had to drag me there, I suddenly had found myself in a place where I didn't feel like I would be judged for not being like the other boys and wanting to play their stupid games. In fact, I was the only boy in the ballet class and I was totally free to be my femmy little self. I never really developed any lasting friendships with boys in school, and I always perceived myself as different than most of them. Throughout the rest of elementary school I would see other boys who would seem inexplicably similar to me, but we always strayed away from each other. I don't think we consciously recognized what we saw in each other or ourselves, but we knew the gay jokes told at recess were related to us and it was better to keep our heads low. It was only in ballet class or at home did I feel comfortable and myself.

I think my family assumed that I would be gay when I was growing up. Often when I was little I would put on my mother's lipstick or play dress up with my best friend. She would let me try on her dresses and we would perform made up plays for our mothers. My mom had worked at a gay bar when she was younger and had several gay friends so she never tried to make me behave in a gender-conforming way. However, I once asked Santa at the shopping mall for a "my size Barbie" so I could play and dress up like her and to this day my mother regrets never getting me one.

As I got older I started getting depressed in middle school. I think this had to do with several stressful home life issues, but also dealing with my sexuality. I had stopped expressing my feminine side and became very self-conscious of how different I was than most boys. I seemed only to fit in with the girls but I found myself distancing myself from them, probably because I perceived it as gay and therefore the most dreadful thing a middle school boy could be. I had even dropped out of dance classes.

The beginning of high school gave me a brand new start and really turned my life around. I went to a boarding school, which got me away from my family problems and gave me a chance to reinvent myself. About two weeks in, this girl told her friends that she had a crush on me. Those friends told me and then I asked her to be my girlfriend. This gave me a chance to be friends with all of these girls while still letting myself and others think I was straight. I also hesitantly began dancing again, but staying away from ballet which was too feminine.

Over spring break that freshman year of high school I suddenly let myself entertain the thought that I might have same-sex attractions. I had always been so busy in my life before worrying about whether I seemed gay and never had allowed myself to actually consider the idea, because deep down it excited me. My girlfriend also realized that something was happening with me and she also noticed that I was emotionally distancing myself. It was like we were becoming best friends instead of boyfriend-girlfriend. On the very day that I was going to break up with her, she told me that we should break up.

Shortly after, I told one of my friends that I thought I might be bisexual because I was finding guys attractive. The boarding school was located in the middle of a forest and at night we would walk through the tall trees and I would tell her all my secrets. After about another week we came to one of the outdoor fireplaces that had been lit and then abandoned by previous students. There was just one log left and it was softly glowing. While we were both watching the dying fire I told her then that I was pretty sure I was gay. Still gazing at the fire she nodded solemnly, acknowledging how difficult that was for me to say. As I watched the log crumble to embers, I thought of the entire life I would never have. I didn't really know how to be gay, but I knew we couldn't get married and I had never heard of gays having children. As cliche as it sounds, I was never going to be that man with a wife and kids living in a house with a white picket fence.

After coming out to myself, the rest was easy for me. My mom had actually told me a year before I came out, "If you were gay, I'm not saying you are honey, but if you were, I would be completely okay with that. I want you to know that." So when I actually did come out to her, she was extremely supportive. I'm pretty sure that my brother saw I was gay when I put it on my myspace and told my dad about it; however, my dad waited for me to tell him in person.

I felt that I grew up a lot that first year after I came out. I was completely out at school and I never felt like people tried to push me back into the closet. I no longer needed an excuse to hang out with girls who understood me. I allowed myself to express my feminine side again. Most importantly, I started dancing again, no longer stigmatized by the gayness associated with it.