I never thought this would happen. I never thought that in one a year I would be fully out. On January 3, 2010, I came out to someone for the first time. In the next 12 months, there have been many ups and downs. There were times of sadness and stress, and then times where I felt like I was on Cloud 9.
Everything changed this week.I knew a month before that the day of my coming out would be February 9, 2011. The reason was a video that was being shown to my school during a week-long campaign to breakdown stereotypes and show people we were all the same. In that video, I said I was gay.
This month of waiting was torture. Walking through the halls the few days before was just weird. I knew every single person that passed would soon find out the secret that I had tried to hide for almost five years. The secret had plagued to me. It drastically changed how I acted towards people, as I tried to protect myself from being hurt if one of my good friends left me if they found out I was gay.
Most of my good friends found out before the video was shown, though through people talking. The spread of gossip about me being gay in my group of friends turned out to be a sweet and sour thing. It hurt me to know that my friends were not able to keep their promise to me about not telling anyone. It worked out great, though, to find out that all of my friends were supportive and did not care at all. I knew I would be able to lean on my friends during lunch in case the day went bad.
My coming out day went perfect, though. It was strange the day before as I kept thinking about all of the “lasts” that I was having as a closeted gay man. It felt good though. The morning of the video airing was filled with stress. I was co-chairing the week of unity in my school, so I was nervous about how the whole video would come across to my school as well as how the class-led discussion in every room would go. I would say I was actually more nervous about that then my actual coming out, which was great because it served as a distraction.
When the video was shown it just felt surreal. I watched it on our huge screen in our auditorium, it was strange seeing myself holding up a sign that said I was gay. I don’t know, maybe it was surreal because it was one of those moments that you do not have many times in your life.
The rest of the day I felt very awkward. I did not hear many things from people. At my lunch table everyone said congratulations and some of the guys patted me on the back to show that they did not care, but other than that there was not much difference. It was not until school ended and I turned on Facebook that the support started to come in.
My friends joked with me that in one day I turned into the most popular student at my school. I had more than 50 people post on my wall saying how proud of me they were and how big of an inspiration I was:
“Brad i know we dont talk but you have no idea how much i love and admire what you did you have the courage that only some people dream of i just can’t describe enough in words how proud i am it is people like you that are making skyview a better place today when i saw the video i did cry because it honestly did touch me so thank you i feel like a new person and once again important really admire what you did ♥”
I had more than 50 people “like” my status that I posted saying thanks for all of the support. I received multiple messages from people as well. The one that really stuck out was hearing from an old middle school teacher tell me that she had students walk over from the high school that afternoon to tell her how much of a difference I made.
The outpouring of support has been amazing. A freshmen girl in my student government class told me how one of the big jocks in her grade made a comment during the video saying how I had huge balls to be able to do that. Another one of my friends said that at a party, a group of senior guys were talking to her about how amazing it was of me to be able to do that. I have not heard a single bit of criticism or homophobia towards me, and my friends haven’t heard a single thing as well.
My school is beginning to change, and I am happy that I was able to help.