(Trigger Warning: Attempted Suicide)
by Javon Morris-Byam
Even as a little boy, I knew I was different. I walked around my house in my mother’s heels at age 6. I had my first crush on a boy at age 7. Then when I was 8, I changed schools. I was already ridiculed as the new kid, but they were calling me this new insult, “gay.” I had no clue what that meant, but I knew that it was supposed to be mean.
As the years went by, the name calling subsided and when I was 11, I found out that gay actually meant happy, but also meant homosexual. That’s when I began thinking, “am I actually gay?”, but those years of abuse from my classmates said otherwise. I didn’t want to be something bad. I had my first boyfriend at 12, but he was on the side. His name was Aaron, which made it easy to answer if people asked if I had a girlfriend. I could still say Aaron, but they interpreted Erin, and all was right with the world. Or so it seemed. At home, I was depressed and angry. I hated myself, my life, my family, my friends, everything possible. When Aaron and I ceased dating, I tried to kill myself on multiple occasions, but something always went wrong. In high school, I claimed the typical gay man’s panacea upon beginning the coming out process. I was “bisexual.” I can calmly say, I don’t think that I was fooling anyone. Surprisingly, though, the children who first began calling me gay back in 4th grade, said nothing to me about the fact that I liked men, but then again, I hadn’t talked to them in years. Even though they walked the same halls as I.
My freshman and sophomore years in high school were spent trying to convince myself and everyone around me that I actually did like girls. I liked them! I swear I did! I just had no interest in having a sexual relationship with them. That idea mildly repulsed me. Hell, the idea was downright revolting to me. It was during my junior year that I first said, “I’m gay.” I said it in my head, I said it via text, and I said it out loud–all to my big sister, the first person to whom I came out. First question I got was, “Are you gay, bi, or just trying to get some attention?” What can you expect from a sister who has lived in New York for all of her life? Her opinion of me has yet to change. The parents just seemed to know. I never came out to either one of them. My mom pretty much outed me to herself and my dad. My 10-year-old niece even knows I’m gay. The family and friends were the easy ones to come out to. Living in such close proximity to Baltimore, you have to watch what you do and what you say. One day, when I get out of here, I will be able to just be myself, but that is what my years in college are for. NYU here I come!
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