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[My little story]

Jun 2017

My little story

For those that may not get what Gay Pride is all about, here’s my little story.
From the age of about six or seven until around 15, I was relentlessly bullied, ridiculed and assaulted because I acted “gay.” A true sissy that hated violence and loved to dance. It seems no matter where I lived or what school I went to the jeers and fights would ensue. I was put in detention or suspension from school- all for fights that I never once caused. I spent most of my childhood defending myself and living in fear. I was caught playing with my sisters Barbies, wearing my mothers clothes and even once with make up on which just perpetuated more abuse. When I became an adult and my mannerisms changed, ironically, I found myself pushing the closet door open and coming to terms with who I am.
As I entered the gay community fresh and new, I was greeted with welcoming arms…and beds too. I was new meat and wasn’t mad about it. ? I was now in a new school of life looking for a place in my strong community. I started finding friends that I seem to have looked for my whole life. The baggage of my childhood was shared with countless other gay men and women who had similar experiences. I was accepted for who I was.
My personality was much different than that of a child. I was now a man. I spent my teenage years practicing to be a man and leave the girly boy behind. I was no longer the meek, sensitive little boy that cried too quick and had become a big strong man with the ability to fit in. I had transformed. I knew if I could accomplish this, I would be accepted and not teased anymore.
It was all on the outside.
After coming out and settling in with my gay community, I was often asked if I were truly gay. The traits of what would be considered gay were not apparent anymore and I had to assure them that I was- gay. It seemed the struggle was now to undo what I had done to myself and personality.
I had experiences with women in my late teens and because of that I questioned my sexuality too, but I knew the true answer- being straight was a phase.
The first few years of being out were both embracing the heart of me while also sorting out the past and the years of mental self abuse.
The kid inside who had been beaten, hated and embarrassed of- survived and now needed love and encouragement. This love came from the gay men and women that I now called family. Without words, they just knew.
With every story I heard, book I read and gay friends I made , the healing had begun.
At my first Gay Pride, I was in awe. It was the first time I had experienced being out in the open and even flamboyant without hiding in the shadows.
I was in the safety of numbers and enjoyed the diversity within our community. I realized there was no ONE type of gay. It was a rainbow of personalities. I had never felt so alive.
This newfound pride and courage propelled me to become an gay activist and demand equality and protection from society. We strived to open doors, build bridges and tackle hate, head on. It came with peace and it came with violence. Some were lost along the way, and through honor, it only fueled our fire. We were fighting for our lives.
Being an adult gay man, I saw the real side of life being gay and the danger associated with no longer being on the schoolyard. The fear was real, but I never ran away. Just as I didn’t as a kid.
I watched as many of my gay friends found a sense of security in my presence because of my size and fearless nature. I knew the fight that began as a child to protect myself was now needed to help protect my friends. I had been trained for it.
I found my place. I built upon that and found love in myself in the process.
Lovers and friends came and went, each teaching me something that I still cherish today. Fond memories of parties, laughter and silliness with many moments of tears. Music, celebrations, fights and forgiveness, I wouldn’t exchange it for another life.
Today, Gay Pride isn’t just for being who I am, it is for the journey that I’ve had and to celebrate our victories. It is for me to share that Pride with the queens, butch, bull dykes, lipsticks, drag queens, bears, leather boys, polos and punks, seniors and twinks.
They are all my people and I am all of them. Not just one, but many. They are people I’m proud to know because our Pride is the same.
To be happy, to be ourselves- to be free.

Happy Pride! ?️‍??


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