I’m Gay and I Made A Choice
I discovered that I liked looking at girls at the tender age of 8 when I was sitting with a neighborhood boy, in the shed of our backyard, looking at my father’s collection of Playboy magazines. My father caught us and I was severely beaten with a belt until he drew blood. He didn’t punish me for looking at girls. He punished me for exploring my sexuality. I don’t think he knew that I was interested in the women in the magazine, I think he was punishing me for being in the shed with the boy. There was never any discussion about it, just the beating.
Regardless of his motives, I learned two things from that punishment: First, looking at girls and feeling that way was bad. Second, letting someone know that I liked looking at girls and feeling that way was bad.
So I was attracted to girls but I made a choice. I decided that day, bruised and bleeding from the punishment, that I would no longer “be” attracted. At the age of EIGHT, I had to choose to push those feelings down, hide and put on a mask. I chose that day not to “be” gay.
I pushed those feelings down in every way possible for the next 33 years. I paved over them with excess weight and I even tried “praying it away”. When that didn’t work, I pasted on a smile and became as asexual as a being could get. I married a man, had 2 children and created as close to the American dream as I could while being miserable, closed off and dying inside. I was married for 21 years and never knew what being in love was like. I chose not to be gay.
In 2011, I entered into a new chapter in my life. After 18 months of intense therapy to get through the childhood sexual abuse, my marriage failed and I was alone with two children to raise, no sense of direction and loneliness like I’ve never felt.
I made a new choice. I chose to live as I truly am. The person I was born to be. I chose to take off the masks, live full out and begin exploring the person I had buried at the age of eight. During the process, I met powerful, authentic friends who were removing their masks as well. My feelings began to surface again as the weight begin to fall off. I met Cindy and for the first time in my life, I fell in love.
I didn’t choose to be gay. I am gay. I am choosing to allow the world to see it. I am choosing to be who I am.
I share all of this because Pride means so much more to me than being gay. I have always been gay and yes, I was forced to make a choice. I celebrate Pride because, at 39 years old, I had the courage to come out and finally allow myself to feel and to be seen. I celebrate and have pride in the fact that I am FINALLY who I have always been. I celebrate the choice I made at the age of 39; to allow myself to just “BE”.
I dream that one day soon, we will all live in a world where color is a decoration and closets are for clothes, where children grow up encouraged to explore who they are and adults thrive in living their best lives. We can all have pride in that.
Much Love and Pride for you all,