#ComingOut

Hear Martin's Story of Life in the Closet and Cue the Tears

Martin is 86-years-old, who spent much of his life in the closet. He spent most of his life as a photographer, admiring the male body, but never fully able to assert his sexuality and live life to the fullest as a gay man. It wasn’t until he was 85 that he realized the he needed to essentially ‘come out’ and fully express himself as a gay man. For much of his life he searched for a partner whom he could spend his life with, but living his life closeted—left him with many regrets, including finding the love of his life.

Martin’s story has inspired many, including me, to cease the moment and never be afraid to be who you are, always following your heart. Martin teamed up with 5 Gum for their #NoRegrets campaign and if his story doesn’t tug at your heart strings, I don’t know what will.

Get to know Martin and his story as he attended his first Pride parade at the age of 85. And don’t hold back the tears.

 

Troye Sivan Opens Up About The Time He Realized He Was Gay

Gay Pop singer Troye Sivan is opening up about the time when he came to realize his sexuality.

In an interview with Attitude Magazine, Sivan shared that his sexual awakening was thanks to Zac Efron.

“I remember I cried when I realized that I thought Zac Efron was really hot, [when I was] aged 13 or something like that,” Sivan says. “I cried. And felt really sick… It wasn’t just: ‘This is a little crush on a boy or something like that: I’m not just interested in this boy–I think that’s he hot.’ And that was weird for me.”

The singer also talked about dating as a gay teenager.

"All my friends were hooking-up with random people at parties, and I just felt so left behind because I didn’t know gay people, I didn’t know where to meet gay people," Sivan says. "I didn’t really want to venture out by myself and so I just did stuff that a 17-year-old boy shouldn’t really have to do.”

 

 

 

A post shared by Jacob Bixenman (@jacobbix) on

 

Sivan went further to explain that he eventually figured out that he could fake his age on Grindr and meet guys through there.

“I managed to get a fake ID and then I got Grindr on my phone and started to try to meet people who were like me, but you sort of are forced a little bit into these hyper-sexualised environments, and even though that’s awesome when you’re 17… I didn’t know what else to do."

Perhaps, that’s around the time that he met the worst Grindr date of his life. Sivan shared in an earlier interview with PopCrush that he was hanging out with a guy he’d met on Gridnr when the guy suddenly pulled out his phone to look for someone else.

“It was a while ago, back in a time when it was a little bit less accepted and a little bit more scary,” Sivan told PopCrush. “I was like, ‘Okay. I think I'm just gonna go home.’”

Thankfully, all that’s behind him as Sivan’s found a wonderful boyfriend in model Jacob Bixenman.

“He’s got like a kind of energy about him, a magnetic sort of energy. I think people can’t help but love him. He’s just got one of those personalities that draws people in… It’s kind of like having your best friend around all the time, which is really nice.”

Congrats to the happy couple.

What Does Conchita Wurst 'Coming Out' as HIV+ Mean in 2018?

Coming out can be one of the more stressful things in our lives to do.  Hey mom, dad, I'm one of the alphabet soup people... TQGQLIBA.   But some of us have to come out for a second time, but we are regulated to just three letters, HIV.

Last week, Conchita Wurst felt she needed to come out for a second time before someone else went public about her HIV status.  I wanted to share the Austrian drag queen's story and why she felt she was forced to reveal her HIV status.  She shared it was all because an ex-boyfriend threatened to tell all.

 

 

heute ist der tag gekommen, mich für den rest meines lebens von einem damoklesschwert zu befreien: ich bin seit vielen jahren hiv-positiv. das ist für die öffentlichkeit eigentlich irrelevant, aber ein ex-freund droht mir, mit dieser privaten information an die öffentlichkeit zu gehen, und ich gebe auch in zukunft niemandem das recht, mir angst zu machen und mein leben derart zu beeinflussen. seit ich die diagnose erhalten habe, bin ich in medizinischer behandlung, und seit vielen jahren unterbrechungsfrei unter der nachweisgrenze, damit also nicht in der lage, den virus weiter zu geben. ich wollte aus mehreren gründen bisher nicht damit an die öffentlichkeit gehen, nur zwei davon will ich hier nennen: der wichtigste war mir meine familie, die seit dem ersten tag bescheid weiss und mich bedingungslos unterstützt hat. ihnen hätte ich die aufmerksamkeit für den hiv-status ihres sohnes, enkels und bruders gerne erspart. genauso wissen meine freunde seit geraumer zeit bescheid und gehen in einer unbefangenheit damit um, die ich jeder und jedem betroffenen wünschen würde. zweitens ist es eine information, die meiner meinung nach hauptsächlich für diejenigen menschen von relevanz ist, mit denen sexueller kontakt infrage kommt. coming out ist besser als von dritten geoutet zu werden. ich hoffe, mut zu machen und einen weiteren schritt zu setzen gegen die stigmatisierung von menschen, die sich durch ihr eigenes verhalten oder aber unverschuldet mit hiv infiziert haben. an meine fans: die information über meinen hiv-status mag neu für euch sein – mein status ist es nicht! es geht mir gesundheitlich gut, und ich bin stärker, motivierter und befreiter denn je. danke für eure unterstützung!

A post shared by conchita (@conchitawurst) on

 

The Google translation of her post in German reads:

Today is the day to free me from the sword of Damocles for the rest of my life:
 
I have been hiv-positive for many years. this is actually irrelevant to the public, but an ex-boyfriend threatens me to go public with this private information, and I will not give anyone the right to frighten me and influence my life in the future.
Since I received the diagnosis, I am in medical treatment, and for many years without interruption under the detection limit, so that so not able to pass on the virus.
I did not want to go public with it for several reasons so far, I just want to mention two of them here: the most important one was my family, which has known and supported me unconditionally since day one. I would have gladly spared you the attention of the hiv status of your son, grandson and brother. Likewise, my friends have been aware of this for quite some time and are dealing with it in an unbiased way that I would wish to everyone and everyone concerned.
Secondly, it is an information that I believe is mainly relevant to those people with whom sexual contact is an option.

coming out is better than being outed by third. I hope to build up courage and take another step against the stigmatization of people who have become infected by hiv, either through their own behavior or through no fault of their own.

to my fans: the information about my hiv status may be new to you - my status is not! I'm well and well, and I'm stronger, more motivated and liberated than ever. Thank you for your support!

The 2014 Eurovision is not a newbie when it comes to being in the spotlight but she also seems like someone that is in control of her destiny.  She stated I “will not give anyone the right to frighten me or affect my life.” 

We all need to claim power over our own lives and not give it away to anyone or let anyone try to steer us down the wrong path.

Wurst further explained that she hoped her decision to go public helped “lessen the stigmatization of people who have become infected with HIV.”

One of my good friends just recently wanted to talk about coming out as gay to his family and then his coming out as HIV+.  He said that the second time he came out to his family was so much more emotional, worse, difficult.  Being gay, well, he knew he was not wrong with that, but being HIV+, he felt that he let his family down, that he did something wrong, that he was ashamed. It was a powerful conversation, but it was more so just me listening and thinking how hard it must have been compared to the "I'm GAY" speech.  He knows now that he does not have or hold onto any personal shame about being HIV+, but back when he came out, actually for both times, the world was quite different.

And it is people, well-known individuals like Conchita that with her actions, she is removing yet another layer of that stigma some people feel regarding AIDS/HIV.

No matter which three letters G-A-Y or H-I-V, we should not drop our heads.  No matter what LBTQQIAA label or category or none of the above, we need to retain our own power.

Thank you Conchita for being a powerful human being and showing us that we are in charge of our lives, we have the power over our own lives, and we have the power over HIV.


Have you had to come out twice?  Once for your sexuality and once involving your status?

Which one was more difficult?

We do have straight readers as well.  Have you as a straight person had to come out because of your HIV status?  What was that experience like?


h/t:  dnamagazine.com

Do We Still Need To Make A Big Deal Of Celebrities Coming Out?

As more and more actors, models, athletes, and other celebrities come out as some sort of LGBTQ, we’re starting to wonder if they even need to.

While two decades ago coming out as gay was still met with some harsh pushback, today’s Western societies see people coming out left and right with mostly praise and acknowledgment. Granted there are still countless problems for LGBTQ people today, but we're surely making progress.

That said, people still keep making a big deal of coming out, and it’s starting to feel draining for all of us. As an Instinct Contributor, it’s my job to share news that you guys would be interested in reading. Despite what some readers like to post in Facebook comments (yes, we read those) saying that they don’t care, our records show that if we write it you guys will click on it.

So, we live in this space where we both wish people didn’t have to come out because it shouldn’t be a big deal, and where we want to hear about people coming out because it’s such a big deal.

And so this brings up my main question, do celebrities still need to come out? And more specifically, do they still need to make a big deal of it?

What really brought all this to the forefront of my mind was the whole Kevin McHale situation. If you don’t know who or what that is, good for you because the internet’s been covering it for a good month now, I’ll quickly bring you up to speed.

Kevin McHale is most commonly known for acting in the former tv show Glee. Last month, he posted a picture of himself holding what looked like another man’s hand on Instagram. While McHale wouldn’t elaborate on the post, many took it to be him openly addressing his sexuality and the fact that he was dating a man.

Then last week, McHale posted a second Instagram picture showing himself laying around with another man. Many took this as confirmation that he was dating fellow actor Austin McKenzie. Then just recently, McHale officially commented on his sexuality while talking about an Ariana Grande song.

When he posted the first two original pictures, I took it as his way of coming out without having to make a big show of it (of course, the internet did that anyway). I saw McHale’s act as the next stage in the coming out process.

Now that Western society is more accepting of LGBTQ life, maybe we don’t have to make a big deal of coming out. Maybe, we can just post a picture of us holding hands and just have that say it all.

That said, the tweet about Ariana Grande’s “No Tears Left To Cry” seemed like his way of being more blunt about the topic. (Note: I take responsibility for getting my hopes up based off of an actor’s Instagram account).

 

#mycoachella

A post shared by Kevin McHale (@kevinmchale) on

But, that still leaves the question lingering in my mind. Do celebrities need to still come out? Do they need to make such a big and blatant deal of it? Because if they don’t, the everyday person doesn’t either.

Unfortunately, it seems that they do.

Just because society is more accepting doesn’t mean that it’s totally tolerant. People still get bullied, attacked, murdered, and worse (Hello, Hermione) for being openly LGBTQ. For instance, take openly gay politician Brian Sims who was called a “Lying homosexual” by one of his political peers. (Thankfully, he didn’t take the insult lying down).

Then going back to the celebrities angle, several openly LGBTQ celebrities have expressed that there is toxic treatment towards openly queer talent.

For instance, Wizarding World (the new Harry Potter movie brand name) and Justice League star Ezra Miller shared with the Shortlist last year that he was told not to come out of the closet by people in the business.

“I won’t specify,” he told them, “[But] I was told by a lot of people I’d made a mistake.

“Folks in the industry, folks outside of the industry. People I’ve never spoken to. They said there’s a reason so many gay, queer, gender-fluid people in Hollywood conceal their sexual identity, or their gender identity in their public image.”

“I was told I had done a 'silly' thing in… thwarting my own potential to be a leading man.”

And on the other end of the spectrum is British model and aspiring actor Zander Hodgson who says that he struggled with coming out because Hollywood is “not very welcoming to gay actors.”

“I don’t think there are many opportunities out there for gay men to play straight roles.”

 

By Zack Snyder

A post shared by Ezra Miller (@ezrator) on

This underline hostility in Hollywood doesn’t make being openly LGBTQ a great option for celebrities (aspiring or otherwise). And with Hollywood possibly being the most liberal place for artists and creators to work, that doesn’t bode well for non-straight talent.

So again, we find ourselves in a double space. Celebrities need to stay closeted to protect their careers, but they also need to come out in order to call out this homophobic hostility and act as representation for LGBTQ talent and citizens.

On top of that, we also have to consider the biggest reality of coming out. It’s up to the individual person on how and when to come out. Despite their position, celebrities still have the right to come out whenever and however they want to. We can’t force them to be subtler or make a bigger deal about it simply because we want it.

 

A post shared by ALBUM OUT NOW (@aaroncarter) on

Ultimately, the goal is to one day have “coming out” become unnecessary. We want a day when a male celebrity can hold a man’s hand without it being a big deal. We want a day when confirming you’re in a same-sex relationship isn’t gossip worthy.

But, of course, we're human and we contradict ourselves. That's the goal we want; but, when people like McHale come out subtly like, we pester and bother for more concrete confirmations.

Maybe, we should just celebrate people coming out however they choose and then move on instead of making multiple big deals about it. That way, we can avoid another Aaron Carter situation, while also not pestering people who just want to state it and move on.

We’re on a journey towards total equality, and the coming out process will surely evolve along the way. While I'll cherish the time coming out was a big deal, that'll only make me appreciate the subtleties even more.


This was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject. 

Do You Remember The Exact Second You Realized You Were Gay?

 

Having nearly thirty-two-years of experiences and knowledge filed away in my brains means that some things have had to go over time - such as 90% of math skills, as well as more disconcerting lapses, like what I ate for dinner last night - but my memory of my gay awakening is still as crystal clear as ever. 

The impetus was none other than a Mr. Jack McPhee on Dawson's Creek. He liked boys, and I liked him. Hmm. But the exact moment I deciphered the word scramble "I'm a homosexual" happened before school one day. I sat on my parents' white and blue checkered reclining sofa, absolutely drenched in pure dread. Thoughts such as "I'm one of the people my classmates make fun of" and "I'm going to have to wear mesh crop tops and move to Hawaii (people at my school thought all gays lived in Hawaii. IDK)" pummeled my brain.

Being half-Catholic, I was able to relatively quickly rationalize and deeply suppress my realization - making a pact with myself that I wouldn't tell anyone for the time being, or possibly ever. But thankfully I did - eventually. Now, many years later, while picturing my moment of fabulous self-awareness on the white and blue checkered reclining sofa makes my heart race, it also makes me smile. Little gay me and Jack McPhee.

Now I want to hear about YOUR gay awakening. Do you remember the exact moment you realized you were gay? Or was it more of a gradual process, with no clear "ah-ha" moment? I'd love to hear about your experience, so please share in the comments! 

This British Model/Actor Just Came Out In A New Youtube Video

British-born but current American-resident model Zander Hodgson came out as gay recently.

The model posted a Youtube video with the title, “Zander’s IMPORTANT MESSAGE” with a description that simply says, “Hi guy, Hope you enjoy. This one kinda explains itself. Comment, Let me know what you think :) Love Zander.”

In the video itself, Zander hangs out in his LA home and explains that this video is about him coming out, which is something he’s been wanting to do for some time now.

“I brought you guys here to talk about something really important to me,’ he says at the beginning of the clip, shot in his adopted home of Los Angeles.”

“It’s been something that I’ve wanted to share with everyone for a while now. But it’s been one thing after the other that has got in the way of me being able to speak up about it.”

That thing getting in his way of coming out before was the fact that he’s in Los Angeles with the goal of making it as an actor.

 

A post shared by Zander Hodgson (@zanderhodgson) on

Hodgson says that its hard for gay actors his age to make it in the business because Hollywood is “not very welcoming to gay actors,” so he’s been struggling to come out.

“I don’t think there are many opportunities out there for gay men to play straight roles.”

That said, he felt this issue was too important for him not to come out and share his story.

On top of that, Zander shares that he was also confused about coming out because his family has a strong religious background and comes from a small town. Luckily though, he also shared that so far his family has been open and welcoming to him after he came out to them.

Good luck Zander Hodgson with your blossoming career and personal life. As said in the video below, “Everyone is entitled to live their full life and to live truthfully to themselves and be loved.”

Let's Talk About "Love, Simon's " Cultural Influence

We are entering the fourth weekend since the release of Love, Simon, and it’s a good time to look at how the film has performed both financially and socially.

First, we have to look at the film’s Box Office records. As stated in an earlier article, the film opened with a so-so box office of about $11.5 million. This is neither a major success nor a major failure. In fact, its just as middling as the angle in which the film was promoted.

What I mean by that, is that director Greg Berlanti hoped that the film would subtlety open the door for more gay representation and inclusion in Hollywood films. As he told IndieWire, he once had to fight for a gay kiss on popular teen drama Dawson’s Creek, which then helped open the door for gay characters and stories in American television.

“I went from executives telling me, ‘You’re not allowed to have a gay kiss. If you’re gonna have a gay kiss, you have to shoot it from across the street.’ To within five years—’Wait a minute, why would you cut away here? Wouldn’t the characters kiss?’ And I’m thinking, ‘Yeah, sure. I’ll go back and put a gay kiss in the scene.'”

 “In TV, when we were trying to do certain kinds of LGBT representation over the last 15 years, walls started to fall, then they fell really fast. And we were able to get more and more specific with the storytelling. Cinema has always been at the forefront of that stuff. But I don’t think that mainstream studios have been.”

His hope was that by presenting Love, Simon as a typical teen rom-com, it could discreetly present a precedent for future films with gay characters to come.

Though, perhaps Love, Simon failed Greg Berlanti’s plan in the most pleasant way. You see, the film has been holding incredibly strong in the following two weeks after its initial release. The film held an impressive 34% hold in its second week and a respectable 37% hold in its third week of release.

In addition, the film has already made a profit. With a production budget of $17 million, the film had a relatively low number to overturn. Then, with a $33 million domestic box office record and a $1.6 million international box office, the film has made about $35 million worldwide.

On top of keeping a steady hold while in movie theaters, Love, Simon still has the potential to do well in the ancillary market.

Once the film leaves movie theaters, it’ll go over to Video-On-Demand and streaming platforms, DVD racks, airline galleries, and more.

\Let’s be honest, can you imagine yourself picking Love, Simon over another film while flying across the skies? I can, and hopefully many others will. This only means more money is on the horizon for the film.

But now, lets shift gears and look at Love, Simon’s cultural and social impact. As stated earlier, Greg Berlanti hoped for an eventual effect where future films will look at Love, Simon as an example. While that could still hold true, the film has also had some instant influence.

First, Love, Simon has inspired many celebrities to buy out theaters in order to help make the film accessible to others.

Not only did Greg Berlanti and his former soccer playing husband Robbie Rogers buy out theaters in Mississippi and Kentucky, but many other celebrities have done similar acts.

Kristen Bell, Neil Patrick Harris, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Matt Bomer, Jennifer Garner, Daniel Preda and more have all bought out theaters in their hometowns to help people see the film.

Part of the reason for this massive support by celebrities is the fact that the film stands for something bigger. Not only is the a film centering on a gay character, but it’s a solid film that isn’t being promoted as a movie just for gay people.

Love, Simon’s strength is in its relatability to all people who’ve had a crush or felt the pressure to present themselves differently in order to fit society’s standards. At the same time, the film’s message is that everyone ironically loves it went people are authentic and real.

In addition, the film’s focus on coming out is both familiar and refreshingly new. As many article writers have written before me, this a film that all youth should see (gay or otherwise).

 

This return to the classic “feel good movie” has also already helped others to come out and celebrate being LGBTQ. For instance, Love, Simon star Nick Robinson shared that a close family members of his came out thanks to the film.

In addition, the film has introduced us to gay actor Clark Moore who played openly gay character Ethan in the film. After the movie's release, Moore shared that he was honored to act as the type of gay teen he wishes he was back in High School.

Also, fellow star Keiynan Lonsdale came out as bisexual to the cast and crew Love, Simon during the final day of production and is now making music about LGBTQ love.

Ultimately, Love, Simon started out as a film hoping to open doors through being relatively average in both box office numbers and presentation. Despite that, what we really got was a fantastic film with an A+ cinema score and a successful hold in movie theaters. On top of that, celebrities and movie-goers are praising the film with their wallets and their computer keyboards.

Love, Simon has done some great things, and we’re all thankful for it.

A Simple Paper Plate Goes A Long Way For Out College Runner

It's great to be rewarded for being the true you that you really are.  Yes, may of us go through life punching the clock, doing our thing, but when you get noticed for the work you do, noticed for being a positive influence, that means something. 

I remember receiving awards and honors in high school and was very excited, but not being out, I did wonder, would I still get these awards, be invited to participate in 1990's high school activities if people knew I was gay?  I honestly thought I would not be as welcome, hence living in the closet until I was 24. 

Joshua Moeckel shared his story of being an out cross-country runner and how a very simple award made him feel. 

At my college’s most recent cross-country banquet, I noticed how at home I felt with my team as an openly gay athlete.

At our banquets we have an unofficial tradition of giving out awards made from paper plates. These little awards note various accomplishments or fun things that have occurred during the season.

This year I was awarded the prestigious “Team Dad” award. This award signified someone who was a reliable team member who may not have been the top runner, but was still a leader and someone teammates could go to if there was anything they needed.

Although this may have just been a simple paper plate, the award meant a lot more. Having the respect of my team and knowing that I was able to become someone they could rely on meant so much to me. - outsports.com

Joshua elaborates in his full story over at outsports.com, going back to when he came out and his bond with his teammates grew from that day on.  He actually went back further to the 7th grade, when he started running.  We've heard before about how some LGBTQ+ individuals immerse themselves in a sport, dedicate themselves to being amazing at a sport to deal with the stress of feeling sometimes confused or held back because of their LGBTQ-ness. Joshua mentioned that running helped him focus on something else. We all need that sometimes. 

Middle school and high school years?  Yes,we remember those years, too.  I remember looking for the right out to come out, but never did.  Like many other kids these days and unlike this 43-year old man, coming out in school to friends is becoming more of an occurrence.  

Family members and coming out to them seemed to be the hardest for many of us. Head over to outsports.com and read how Joshua came out to his sister first, then later his team members in college.

But the reason this story was written might be two-fold. One would be this statement by Joshua:

In the end, being an out and gay athlete made me a stronger and confident person. It taught me to be myself and to face challenges head on. I know that there are many other athletes in the LGBTQ+ community who may not yet be ready to come out.

For those who are not out, I want to say to stay strong in whatever situation you are in and come out on your own terms, and to know that there is a community of other athletes who are here for you and here to support you.

But the other reason is because it seems Joshua had his own AAAAAHHHH  or Ah Ha! moment.

Getting that paper plate from his teammates was life and the world saying, "You're okay kid!  Keep up the great work!"

Goodness,  don't we all need a paper plate right now?


Instincters, 

Have you received your "paper plate?" Was there something that happened in your LgBTQ+ life that helped you realize that you're on the right track?


Joshua Moeckel is currently a junior majoring in psychology at Utica College in New York. He runs both cross country and indoor and outdoor track and is also an active member of his schools Gay Straight Alliance. He can be reached via email (jmoeckel15@gmail.com) or on instagram (josh_moeckel).

 

h/t: outsports.com

My Coming Out Story is Quite Similar to the One in 'Love, Simon'

The film Love, Simon, has been getting millions of people talking all over again regarding how truly difficult the coming out process is for anyone who has experienced it.  Truth be told, the one that Simon (played by Nick Robinson) experiences is not so different from many others in real life who have their identity threatened for the world to see.  I'm one of them.

Here's a fun little story about how this gay kid pictured above told the wrong person his sexuality, dealt with the fallout of that, and came out (pun intended) smelling roses and eventually developing an IDGAF attitude about the whole experience.

I've known, from a very young age, that I was different from the other boys at school.  Vivid memories of watching Baywatch with my buddies was definitely an eye opening one, as they would ogle over Pamela Anderson and Carmen Electra whereas I would beeline for David Chokachi and David Charvet.  Something was up.

Take that and put several situations in real life, when I vaguely remember having a thing for my 2nd grade teacher, to developing my first major (the word major here is a, well, MAJOR understatement) crush on a guy named Derek who moved to our school in the 5th grade.  Then, with the addition of homoeroticism in music videos, guys in muscle magazines, the underwear ads in the Macy's catalog and many many other things, I came to the realization that I was in fact, gay.

I didn't really even know what gay totally meant at this point, to be honest.  The realization happened before high school, I would say around the 7th grade.  Keep in mind, this is in the late 90's when being cool with the gays was just "starting" to be a thing.  I knew I liked guys, but I didn't know how to really explore what this was back then.  The internet was in its primitive stages, and a lot of what i saw on television only made homosexuality seem like it was a bad thing, so naturally, I told nobody.

9th grade comes around, and I decided to join the junior varsity football team, the main reason being that it was a sport I played since I was young and I actually performed pretty decently on it throughout the years.  Then, another crush happened.  One that was almost as deep as the first one, only with more mature feelings.  It became almost like word vomit at this point to actually want to scream "I'M GAY!" but I didn't out of fear that I would get my ass kicked both in and out of the locker room.

For most kids who play fall sports, you generally start practicing about 2 weeks before the school year begins.  This rang true for the football team I was on, and one day, I remember talking to my friend about a girl I liked.  Obviously, I was lying as I have never found girls sexually attractive and that still is my truth to this day (sorry ladies, but you are still freaking awesome).  Then, another guy on my team came up to me mid-conversation, and said "You know Ryan, we all know you're gay."  

I went totally pale, pale enough to actually see in my football helmet.  I immediately went on the defense and said, "No... I'm not."  He replied with "Most people who deny it actually are."  This guy, who I am still friends with to this day, was being a crafty mother f***er, but I knew his intentions were in the right place, as he was just trying to get me to admit my truth.  I went over to him shortly after, one on one, and told him I was, in fact, gay.

He didn't care.  He said that he knew, a lot of people knew, and he was happy I told him.  I grew up with him and the rest of my class since kindergarten, and even though I come from a very conservative area, there was a likability that my classmates had towards me that made me feel as if I wouldn't be in trouble of any kind if I came out.  My family is and was a different story with this, as this tale only has to do with what happened shortly after at school.

So I told my friend, I told another guy who I knew since we were young, and they didn't care.  Told one more, and then... the last guy.  This last guy was someone who I was neighbors with growing up, was a bit older than me, and from what I remember, was a pretty nice guy.  Little did I know that his reputation was one that can only be described as a dick, and he wound up telling the entire freaking school.

This was my biggest nightmare.  My freshman year hasn't even started yet, and now i have to go into the first day knowing that everyone is aware that I'm gay.  Am I going to get teased?  Bullied?  Harassed?  Beat up?  All of those things played into my mind as I walked into school that September.

I have to admit... I was one of the lucky ones.  Yes, there was a ton of tension on the football team which caused me to quit shortly after (a decision I still regret to this day), but for the most part... no one cared.  When you have a community around you that not only grows up with you but has a level of respect and care for you, it makes the coming out process that much better.  So it was a complete 180 type of experience for me when I thought the worst was going to happen, and in the end, everything turned out OK and I wound up having an incredible four years there that I only look back on with fond memories and happiness.

The funniest thing happened years later at our ten year reunion.  The guy who outed me in question wound up marrying a girl from my grade (a girl who was and is WAYYYYYY out of his league and I still scratch my head over why she's with him in the first place.  Shade.)  I said hello and gave him a brief hug, but that was it.  He looked very uncomfortable around me, which made me hope that it was because of how he treated me in high school and not because of me being gay.  Because seriously dude, if the latter was true, then you really need to reevaluate your life.

I found out a year or two ago, from a mutual friend, that his friend since childhood came out to him only a month or two before our reunion.  Allegedly, he cried his eyes out later that night at an after party, as he spoke about how terribly he treated me and how he would've never done that to his best friend who is now gay.  It's interesting how the tables truly turned there, and even though I have no plans to talk to this dude in the future, I'm glad that he came around and owned up to what he did and I hope he teaches his kids one day to have respect for all people no matter who they are. 

I only wish that what happened with guys like me can happen to the rest of us in today's society.  You should never, ever be punished for living your truth, and I do hope one day that homophobia and bigotry will become a thing of the past so every living person can be who they authentically want to be.  If that doesn't work, and the homophobes still exist, keep one thing in mind then: f**k them.

This was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject. 

 

A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words for Kevin McHale

Actor Kevin McHale who played Artie Abrams on the hit show Glee, recently posted a photo to Instagram that has fans screaming with speculation.

Could this cryptic photo of two men holding hands be a ‘no words needed’ coming out story?

 

 

A post shared by Kevin McHale (@kevinmchale) on

The photo is accompanied by an American Sign Language symbol for “I Love You”—so more than a coming out, maybe its demonstration that he’s off the market?

Fans have been posting their congratulations for McHale, but nothing has been confirmed.

But yeah...the signs were already there--

 

Limpest wrist in the game.

A post shared by Kevin McHale (@kevinmchale) on

 

Pride popped. Perfect day.

A post shared by Kevin McHale (@kevinmchale) on

And who is the lucky guy in the photo?

Whatever the case may be for this cutie--Congratulations, Kevin!

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