Coming out of the closet is a process.
First, there was coming out to myself. While seemingly obvious, it was one of the largest hurdles to surmount.
Then, when I was 16, I told a handful of my closest friends that I’m gay.
On the night of January 29, 2001, I came out to my mom. It was one of the most difficult things that I’ve ever done. And maybe that means that my life has been incredibly easy – or maybe it means that coming out is really that hard. In my mind, there was a very real possibility that my mother would disown me. In truth, you really can never tell how someone will react – and I was very, very scared.
Over the years, I’ve heard the full spectrum of coming out stories. Some parents are amazingly supportive, while others think nothing of kicking their children to the street. My parents were somewhere in the middle; they were upset, but their love for me was unshaken.
My parents have come a long way since 2001 (in fact, my mother called me on Saturday night to remind me that it’s my 10-year coming out anniversary), and looking back on the last decade, an obvious lesson stands out to me: People really can change. Maybe not all of them, but definitely some of them. I never expected my dad to espouse to importance of marriage equality to his shellfishing buddies, but that’s exactly what he did last weekend.
It took me 16 or 17 years to come to terms with my sexuality, and my parents have done it in less than 10. Good for them.