Hi all. Jesus here. 1/2 of @GayPrideApparel. Sergio and I thought we should share our stories with you of how we came out.
We will start with mine today.
The earliest memory of “being gay” starts in about 3rd grade or so. This wasn’t necessarily when I realized “I like boys” but it was when it was brought to my attention that I was... different? Kids in school would call me “gay” or “girlie” because I hung out with girls and didn’t like to play rough. (Hated it. Still do.) At that age, I don’t think I realized what it really meant, I just knew those kids were being mean. At the end of the day, my little heart knew that no matter what I was being called, or what they said, I was the class clown and everyone (for the most part) loved me. Including my teachers. (Really, I was the funniest little kid ever.)
It wasn’t until about 6th grade that I realized those kids who called me gay for years might be onto something. I noticed my eyes got lost looking at the charming little 6th grader and that I would stare way too long at the 20-something-year-old P.E. Teacher that had a nice butt. I, of course, ignored the signs and went on to have the weirdest straight middle school relationships you could ever think of (no offense if you’re reading this!!). I was constantly asked for a girlfriend at home, and I felt like I had to have one. I had to be straight. It’s what’s expected.
Throughout middle school, I hung out with a very... eclectic group of friends. We weren’t popular. We weren’t unpopular. But we weren’t cool. It was a group of girls, boys, and everything in between. A judgment-free zone. This is when Sergio and I met.
As middle school progressed, I found my people and didn’t have to face constant sexuality questions. And if I did, it was in joke form from my friends. Sergio and I became extremely close. We both got each other. It's weird. I remember the early years of our friendship and it’s really like nothing has changed. Back in middle school, we were both the weird kids who hung out with girls and always placed last during the P.E. running exams. We literally were instant best friends.
Once in high school, the drama happened, and I had to find myself a new group. This meant that the oh so dreadful get-to-know-me phase was back and I had to re-introduce myself and re-explore who I was.
I met a new kid. We’ll call him Jesse. And that was it. That was my first boyfriend. It was sort of effortless. We were into each other and no labels could define that.
I was SOOOO in love I decided it was time to tell my mom. So I did. And things did not go as planned.
She immediately rejected the idea. She was concerned about having grandchildren. She told me it was a phase. Just think of every stereotype coming out story and that’s what happened. (She’s come a long way now. Don’t judge.)
It was devastating.
Jesse and I decided it was time to tell our friends that we, in fact, gay and very much in love. Forever!
After weeks of speculation from what felt like my entire high school. I decided to post a Facebook post that read something like:
“Here a long awaited clarification that I don't personally find the importance to, but I just want you all to hear it from me, rather then others peoples mouth... I'm gay.” (apologies for the horrible grammar. I was 14.)
Wow. So brave.
A Facebook post! Looking back, it was hilarious that I was able to live through that and post it on Facebook. Like, how modern of me.
But anyway. Jesse and I broke our forever love and here I was. Devastated. Heartbroken. And out of the closet. Alone.
I remember I ate a lot of Chinese food for a couple of weeks and really took “eating my feelings” very seriously. I cried. Not because of the break-up but because I was out, my mom rejected me, and missing the most important person in my life. Sergio.
I didn’t have Sergio or any of my hardcore friends. They were gone. So, I ended up in a dark place. Aside from my sexuality, I come from a home full of domestic violence. I learned how to talk to a 911 operator at a young age. I grew up early. I had a lot of crap going on in my life and I was scared.
I remember watching a lot of the “It gets better” videos on YouTube. For weeks straight. Hoping that it would get better. I remember wishing I could text Sergio and go over to his house. I remember wishing I didn’t tell my mom anything. I wished that Jesse would’ve never happened. I questioned whether I was gay. I remember specifically thinking, “maybe I’m not gay. Maybe I think I am because everyone always called me that.”
One day I wrote a suicide note.
I wrote it. Folded it. And put it under my pillow. I had no plans. No method. I just wrote my feelings on a paper and hid it.
A couple of months passed. I am in the middle of testing. And I get called up to the office. My school therapist was fuming. My mom was crying.
She found the note. The note that really wasn’t supposed to be found.
They evaluated me and realized it was fine. My mom told me she loved me and that she would be there for me no matter what. And that’s the day she changed. Instead of ignoring my homosexuality, she began asking questions. I could tell she wanted to be invoked and she wanted to know more about me. She didn’t care what it meant. She just wanted to know me.
Months flew by.
Sergio and I started talking again (after almost 2 years!). It wasn’t the same. But it was something.
Jesse and I got back together (we were on and off for a while). And everything was great.
Until I had a genius idea. It was time to come out to my dad. My dad is a typical Mexican man. He works in construction. He’s very intelligent. Hard working. But grew up in a time and place where men are "men" and women are "women".
My high school counselor thinks it’d be best if he mediates the conversation and I agree. We call my dad up to the office and my mom comes with him. We all sit down and my counselor just blurts it out.
“Your son is gay.” But in Spanish. Which is 100x more dramatic.
He immediately gets up. Storms off. And leaves my mom stranded. (Domestic violence, remember?)
Fuck. What did I just do? Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
I go back to class. My moms walk back home (I think). And now I have 4 class periods to imagine what’s going to happen when I get home.
One of my very attractive straight friends finds out about the whole thing and offers to walk me home. He said he didn’t want me to be alone. It sounded great. I didn’t want to walk home alone.
I get home and my dad immediately starts to harass my friend. He shouts slurs. He almost physically attacks both my friend and me. He’s out of control.
I don’t think I can remember everything he said because it’s repressed. But it was bad. So bad that I decided to leave. I left and had no idea where to. I knew I couldn’t sleep in the street. But I knew I couldn’t be there.
I don’t really remember much. But I remember it was a horrible couple of weeks/months. I decided to be at school for as long as I could. I would go home to sleep but that’s it. And to this day, I do not talk to my dad about my amazing boyfriend. My amazing life. Or about anything really. I say hi. He says hi. And it ends there.
My mom. My mom, on the other hand, loves Sergio. Loves my amazing life. And misses her two sons (Sergio and me) dearly. She cares about us. She’s known Sergio for over 14 years. And she’s come a long way from the first time I told her I Gay.
I am the oldest of 4 and I am happy that my 3 younger siblings also accept me for who I am. Heck, they applaud me and my story.
How do I feel?
Lucky. I’m lucky to have an amazing best friend, boyfriend, and life long lover who has been through the worst of times with me and has been there with me to celebrate the good times.
We are lucky to be able to use Gay Pride Apparel to share our story. The story of the LGBT+ community. And to help other little gay kids out there who are going through or went through a similar experience.
I know that my experience is not the worst. But if I have learned one thing in my 24 years of life, it’s that it’s not about who has it worse. It’s about each of our experiences on this earth. Pain, transitions, and experiences are all relative.
You are not alone. This shit is hard. But you gotta keep pushing.
Cause one day, you’ll look back and realize that your experience is what makes you great. It's what makes you, YOU. It's what you should be PROUD of.
Disclaimer: this is a shortened, sped-up, and less detailed version that what really went on. But it gets the point of across.