Well, I came out

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.

Brad

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About Brad,Robert,Ben

We are three kids from three different time zones, with one common goal. This is our voice:
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19 Responses to Well, I came out

  1. Kyle says:

    Not much to say other than congrats! That’s a really great, and inspiring, thing you did!

  2. Fred says:

    It’s comforting to know that our community has some amazing young men who are changing our world. Thank you! And congratulations!

  3. Terence says:

    Congrats! This day was not only all about you, but your amazing peers! You did it! You should be proud! In the many things I’m sure you have accomplished that warrant you holding your head up high, this is one more. 😀

  4. Mike D says:

    I am so happy for you! With all the crap you hear in the news you would think the entire planet was homophobic, but in reality most people just don’t care.

    Coming out is a huge deal, but when it’s all out and in the open you get this feeling that a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders. I wish I had had your courage when I was in school.

    You guys are awesome, even to a 50 year old guy like me. Keep on making a difference!

  5. Ryan says:

    Well done, Brad. You took a chance and gave people hope. You demonstrated the change you wish to see in the world. Bravo!

    “Without hope, not only gays, but those who are blacks, the Asians, the disabled, the seniors, the us’s: without hope the us’s give up. I know that you can’t live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living. And you, and you, and you; you’ve got to give them hope.” -Harvey Milk

  6. Bard says:

    HOOOORAYYY 4 U!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    & 4 YOUR SCHOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Philip says:

    Incredible stuff! You are an inspiration to many people.

  8. Jon says:

    I could never have done that at school but wish i could have. Congrats!

    Best wishes for the future!

  9. Jay M. says:

    Brad,
    I read your post on my phone while I was waiting on my computers to boot up this morning at work, and there were tears of joy in my eyes! This is sooo huge for you, and also, for so many other gay teens that will read this and hopefully realize that it can be done…you can come out…you can be all of who you are for the rest of your life. I’m sure you are on cloud nine. Wow, you should be proud of yourself. I hope you are.

    Congratulations!
    Peace ❤
    Jay

  10. Jamie says:

    Brad,
    Words cannot express how truly happy I am for you. The three of you are all such an inspiration. Thank you for this blog – it makes me believe the world can truly become a better place.
    All my love and support!
    Jamie

  11. Daen says:

    Congratulations! Our gay-straight-alliance was rooting for you and we totally expected that you would have had a fantastic day!

  12. Giulio says:

    The Portland area sounds like an awesome place to grow up for a gay teen…

    I’m so happy that all went well! Congratulations to you, to your community and good luck!

  13. lsawyer713 says:

    What a wonderful thing you did Brad, not that you haven’t heard this yet today… but the times are changing and everyone against it need to get the education to understand that ALL people are the same, the only difference is who some people love. They need to get over it, we are not going away!

  14. John G says:

    Congats on a big accomplishment! Afterwards it’s one of the greatest feelings to have it over with! I hope things continue to go well, and who knows, maybe I’ll see you at a track meet( I live in Washinton too). You seem like such an Inspiring and great person! Keep at it!
    John Gallagher

  15. Greg Usselman says:

    Brad,
    I sit here reading your blog and tears are in my eyes, not because of sadness or shame, but from pride. I am so proud of your strength, courage, and desire to change the world. You are an inspiration to me and mom. I know that you’re life will not always be easy, but please know that we will always be there to provide you with the love, support, and guidance you need to achieve all your goals. I have received many positive comments from both family and friends, which makes me feel good knowing that you have a strong support system. I don’t know either Robert or Ben, but I look forward to meeting them one day and shaking their hands.
    Love,
    Dad

  16. Jay M. says:

    Dear Greg,
    There are so many gay youth out there that need parents exactly like you and your wife. I, too, had tears in my eyes reading of Brad’s experience, and wishing I could have had the same experience at his age (or even my age now as an adult). He is truly to be commended for, I think most importantly, being so comfortable with who he is. His bravery, his desire to be an inspiration, all excellent qualities that speak to his upbringing by parents who should be the inspiration for every other parent of a child; it doesn’t matter what their sexuality is. The unconditional love and support is missing in so many families these days (and working in a school system, I see a lot). Thank you for being here. I hope your comment is as inspiring and uplifting to other parents as Brad’s post will be to so many other youth. I’d like to meet you some day and shake your hand.
    Peace,
    Jay in VA

  17. Graeme says:

    WOOHOO! 😀
    Staggie G

  18. Jay in VA says:

    Brad,
    Just curious…any chance you’d post the video here? Or link to it?
    And, was the choice of holding a sign saying “I’m gay” based on the picture in your profile here that says “Strong”? Well cool!
    Peace ❤
    Jay

  19. DJ says:

    I’ve been meaning to post on this particular blog post for a few days but forgetting it. Brad, I’m going to paste what I said to Jim at OS from an email I had sent him this past weekend:

    “I can’t believe Brad did what he did, honestly, letting the entire school see you during an auditorium screening with a sign admitting you’re gay? My exact words were “You’ve got to be shitting me” while milk fell out of my mouth. I cannot imagine me of all people doing that. Here I was being scared of a few friends knowing and this guy just goes all out.”

    Words cannot describe how brave I think that was. If I had the knowledge of knowing how my life is now and be able to go back in time, I would have done the very same thing. You took a big risk doing that in the middle of your high school career, and all I can say is that I’m speechless. I can keep on praising you and come off as a goof, but that’s what you’ve done. You’re an inspiration to so many kids at your school who may or may not be in a very similar situations with their teammates or their family. No matter how liberal an area is, the high school, middle school, or grade school students have differing views on what is perceived to be “normal”, when “normal” is an ambiguous definition of today’s social norms. What I’m trying to say is that at 21, I look up to you for what you’ve done and accomplished. I have the power to do the same, but do not have the willpower. Keep doing what you’re doing and change the world.

    @ Greg Usselman: Mr. Usselman, you’ve raised a terrific son who exemplifies the qualities of a kind, caring, intelligent and loving human being.

    -DJ

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