By Tim GibbonsIt was in preschool when I realized I was different from the other boys in my class but it wasn’t until senior year, about a year ago, when I would actually come out to my parents. Growing up in a very Christian, conservative household in the Midwest gives you that sort of apprehension that will keep you waiting. Throughout my childhood, I remember believing that I was defective and praying that God would take this sickness from me and I could be normal for a second. In retrospect, I realize that it is this mode of thinking that is damaging to many individuals in similar situations as myself.
During my junior year it was getting harder to hide my sexuality from my parents because it was then that I entered my first relationship. This feeling of being completely honest with someone opened my eyes to a life I yearned to live. A few good months were had and as that chapter of my life came to an abrupt and tumultuous halt, my parents sensed something was wrong and this is where our problems began. Increased curiosity in my situation and more secrets at stake on my end led to the equation that would set into motion the events that have shaped the past two years of my life.
I was ultimately dismissed from my house. My parents claim it was my “inability to follow the house rules” that landed me in the situation…as if sexuality can be governed. The words sickness, ashamed, guilt and the like were all part of my parent’s verbal arsenal against me and my case. I spent the rest of my senior year floating from relative’s house to friend’s house to wherever I could find and it’s to these people that I owe my infinite gratitude.
These good Samaritans gave me the chance to escape the negative pressures of the people that surrounded me. While details of my story aren’t exactly the way I wanted them to happen, I have come out of the situation with a much better understanding of myself and who I was made to be. I feel like everything happened for a reason. It may not have been right or fair but it is what has shaped me into the person I am today and I have to be very thankful for that. If there’s one message that I could share with others, it is to stand in the face of adversity and be the person you want to be. Somewhere along the line you’ll meet a person or a group of people and in most cases many of these individuals that understand and empathize with you. It’s these people that make the fight completely worth it and these people that make you want to get up from every stumble and pursue what is right. What is love.