I’m human and I like other humans. I thought of these words when I was growing up. When I was afraid of what people thought of me. When I was afraid of what people would do to me if they found out that I’m gay.
I knew I was different from a very young age, I knew I was gay from about the age of 12. I grew up presenting a false self to people, to my friends, my family and my teachers. I spent almost 10 years hiding myself away, not wanting to be noticed, teased or ridiculed for being different.
When I was growing up, in secondary school, looking back now, I can’t say I was bullied, I was teased, and teased a lot because I didn’t chase after girls or have any interest in sports. I was called “gayboy” quite a lot. I would always deny it, but deep down this was making me hide even more.
I went on to college, and then to university, keeping myself in reserve. The damage that had been done to me in school was still prevalent at this time of my life. I was still frightened of what people would think, do and say. I would see other people of all sexualities, expressing themselves to their partner, right there in the open. Within my group of friends at the time, I can remember remarks being made, head nods towards these people. These comments were not intended to hurt or be malicious in any way. They still had an effect on me. Keeping me in hiding.
Enough about the times when I was reserved and hidden. Let’s move on to a happier time. Still in hiding, still in the closet, I met the person who was to become my first boyfriend. We were together for 3 months, and then I had a revelation one Sunday morning. “’I’m human and I like other humans” and why should it matter to anyone else who I love, care for and want to spend my time with. What ever happens now, it’s the other person’s loss. I’m me.
I got ready for work one Sunday morning. Went down stairs to confront my mother and father. My words were “Mom, Dad, please don’t disown me, but I’m gay and have a boyfriend and have done for the past 3 months”. I can remember my Mom and Dad look at each other and back to me. I was in tears at this point. This moment seemed to last a hell of a lot longer than it really did. My heart racing.
My mom stood up, came over to me and gave me a hug, no words were said. I was worried most about what my dad would think. It was my Dad who spoke first; “That doesn’t matter, you’re our son and we love you”. My Mom explained that they would not disown me. Off to work, I went, still shaking.
When I reached work, there is this one guy, who to this day I consider my second dad. At the time, he was my work Dad. I didn’t even say hello. I just said to him “I’m gay”. I think he had one of the best reactions ever. He looked at me dead in the eye and said “…and”. That was it, a non-reaction, the best reaction.
I thought to myself, I should have done this a long long time ago. I would not have been where I was if I had. That day was an emotional roller-coaster for me.
I have a large family, by the time I got home, my one of my sisters said, “I’ve always wanted a gay brother”, one of my brothers said, “You do realise that I will be taking the piss out of you even more now?”. To this day, I do not think I have ever been teased by my brothers for being gay. My nephew who would have been 14-15 at the time said, “We still love you”. For a teenager to say that to me, who would have been all about image and what people thought of him, I was proud of him.
I was and remain proud of my family for the way that they embraced me, for that I am truly thankful.
I know some people out there do not have the same experience with their families and friends. I can not and will not understand why. I can only say that it is the other person’s loss and their own insecurities are their downfall.
We are all humans, no matter what our differences are we are human. If I love someone of the same sex as me, so what. No other person has the right to judge me. I’m not hurting anyone. I’m living my life.
I’m human and I like other humans.