(TRIGGER WARNING: Discussion of rape, suicide, and homophobic violence)
by Taylor Parr
I’ve known I was gay since I was 7 years old when I could look at guys and think they were cute. I think I could have been bisexual, but girls have scared me ever since being raped by a middle school girl when I was 8. The problem with being gay for me was I lived in a predominantly Mormon society. My whole family was LDS and I felt as if I couldn’t say anything because anything I really wanted to say was against their beliefs.
One of my best friends, John, came out to me when he was 11 and when he came out to his parents they kicked him out of the house with nothing and he came to live with me. My parents didn’t know he was gay. One morning I walked in on him crying with a gun in his mouth. I was able to talk him out of it, but his finger slipped when he went to hand me the gun and he shot me in the hip. I found him hanging in the closet 3 weeks later.
I was so scared of this happening to me that I tried hard to be attracted to girls. I went out with several. I even almost bought a ring for a girl I’d been going out with for 2 years. When I came to college, acting “straight” became too much to bear and I finally came out to a select few of my friends who I knew would be okay with it.
At this point in my life I’d seen so many friends bullied, beaten, and a couple even died because of the hatred of everyone towards them. I was afraid to come all the way out. I’d never even kissed a guy yet. One day my friend from up north was coming down to visit and was followed by two of his coworkers. When he got here the two coworkers jumped him and started beating him because of his sexual orientation. He died from brain damage two weeks later in the hospital. This was the last straw for me. I finally came out, knowing that no matter what happened to me, I needed to be strong so that other people like me could have a shoulder to lean on.
Coming out to everyone had so many negative repercussions, such as my family shunning me for a while and losing several of my closest friends. I even got hate mail on my car and door. But I found that the good out-weighed the bad in my coming out of the closet. Even though I lost some of my friends, I found out who my true friends were and developed some of the closest friendships I’ve ever had in my life. I may have lost my family for a while, but they have been coming around and I don’t have to lie to them about my feelings. The biggest plus side to this is I’ve been able to have meaningful relationships with people that I could consider more than just friends.
Keep your head up and keep a smile on your face, because you are stronger than you know and people are watching.
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