I suffered from homophobia for the majority of my life. I’m not talking about the loud, intimidating, violence fueled homophobia that grabs the attention of headlines and fuels anti-gay protest, but the type of homophobia that lived pervasively and quietly in the back of my thoughts.
I knew I was gay at a very young age. I remember getting my hands on a Playboy when I was in grade school and thinking I was so cool for having been one of the first kids to see one. It was literally about two weeks later I saw an ad on some T.V. channel for an all male swimsuit calendar and being scared out of my mind because I instantly knew that I felt the way towards that T.V. ad that I “should” have felt for the Playboy.
As I continued to grow up I lived with this internal fear of what it meant to be gay and if my friends and family would realize I was. It was always internally uncomfortable when someone asked something like if a party was “gay”. I knew they were just asking if the party was lame but inside I would be thinking about how awkward it was going to be some day when I told them I was homosexual and they had used that slang all the time, plus it always peppers your doubt of if they will be truly mature enough to see you for who you are and look past the current social stigma.
Dating was always hard because while I wasn’t disgusted by girls I didn’t want lie to them because I knew I found their beauty to be on a platonic level. I distanced myself from music and theater programs because I didn’t want to standout as liking something my friends would consider “for homos”. The saddest effect of my phobia is that I didn’t feel comfortable enough reaching out to others, even up through college, who were going through the same thing.
I am by no means saying I should have gravitated towards musicals or ran around hitting on the guys in my high school because I’m a homosexual, but I am saying its ridiculous I let my homophobia get in the way of trusting my friends with what was going on in my life instead of being ashamed of it. I knew what my sexual preference was at the age most young boys do but I felt that I had to hide it to make everyone else like me. It takes everyone their own amount of time to come out, don’t rush it, and I encourage coming out at first to people you suspect will be accepting to form a healthy support, but ultimately stress less and take the fear out of equation.
What I hope a relating reader can take from this entry is to replace some of the fear with confidence. You’re not alone in what you are going through, what you’re going through is a normal healthy variation on sexual preference, a lot of people are aware of that, people who see it otherwise haven’t come to understanding it yet but if you’re able to replace the fear of coming out by showing those around you that you are ok with your sexual preference and that you understand that its normal maybe you will be the one to teach them.