June is Pride Month! This celebration of humans is all about the vast spectrum of sexual preferences, gender identities, and all of the things in between. It's a big mashup - ergo the rainbow of colors now donning city streets, parks, businesses, and even sidewalks.
I knew I was gay when I was 5.
I didn't know that those feelings had a name, or that it was anything other than normal. I was just your average kindergartener with a crush on an older woman (a 1st grader).
When I was 16, I sort of found the words. Not really though. They were muddled and spilled out in incoherent sentences - I wasn't good at them yet. My parents reacted in a way that a lot of parents react.
I don't blame them.
I've never been a parent, but I know that if my child told me something that meant their life might be more difficult, I would probably reject it at first. No one wants hardship for someone they love.
But just because it doesn't upset me now, doesn't mean it was easy. When you're 16 and trying to figure out how life works, the whole "coming out" experience throws a mighty punch. There were a lot of tears. Some arguing. Anxiety. Life was hard for a while.
My mom and I talk about this a lot. Almost every time I see her. When I came out, it was a process of growing. For her, it was that too. We've had a lot of meaningful conversations over the last 10 years about sexuality and relationships - all that good stuff. Even when they were hard at times, I wouldn't want it any other way.
Open Closets Have Stories
I am now very much out of the closet. It's something my family is 1000% cool with. It's something I share with strangers if it comes up. It's something I write about and talk about on occasion.
But, it isn't everything.
My "coming out story" is about more than being gay. It's about a journey. It's about individual growth in more areas than my sexuality. It was an open door that led me to some of the most amazing friends on the planet, to creative communities, and even to seek out new educational opportunities.
So, this is my story. When @invisibleone2 asked me about it, who was I to say no? We can all learn from one another, even if asking is awkward and answering is hard. Open closets have stories, and those stories are what create change.
How Could More Love in the World be a Bad Thing?
To leave you all, no matter what your journey looks like, hard or easy, gay or straight or something in between, remember that more love in the world is never a bad thing. We all need to love harder, and love the way love can be a healing force in this stupidly crazy world.