What is Coming out? Is it marching in a Gay Pride Parade? Is it telling a few close friends? Is it telling you family. Coming out is a very personal thing. Some people come out Flaming. Some come out a little at a time, which is the way that most people come out, in stages. And some people never come out at all. I've always known I was gay, I just didn't have a word for it.
I remember most of my time in 7th and the first part of the 8th grades as horrible. All through Elementary school I was in the advanced classes. When I got into the 7th grade things went downhill. I was almost held back a grade. I was failing English and Math. I just couldn't get it. This was also the time that I was finding out who I was. My one saving grace was Chorus. (Wouldn't you know it?) I had also internally excepted that I was a 'queerboy'. I excepted the fact that I liked looking at guys better then girls.
I've been Out and Proud, officially, since May 17th, 1975. I had my share of high school sweethearts, guys of course. But, the first night that I stepped into a Gay Bar - The, then Downstairs Club, the only gay bar in Charleston WV at that time - was my official coming out in the gay world. It was the night that I publicly said I was gay. I was with Michael, a friend of mine, after a variety concert we had given at a local senior citizen's center. We were riding around in his car, drinking a cheap wine. He asked if I would like to cruise the block. I thought ... "I've never done this before, sure, why not" So we did. There were lot's of guys hanging on to corners. Now, you have to remember this was before the AIDS epidemic. There was this one cute one .... oops, that's another story. Michael then asked if I wanted to go to the bar. I was nervous as hell. But after I walked through the door, I was a different person, I was more at peace with myself. As I said, most people come out in stages.
After that fateful night at the bar, I told a few friends, I lost one real close platonic girlfriend of mine. She couldn't believe I was gay. We did get to see each other later and resolved things.
It wasn't until 3 year's later, when my Mother and I were riding around when she was telling me a story about a cousin of mine that was in some trouble and didn't tell her mom about it. When the mom found out about the trouble, she embraced my cousin and told her that she was her mom and was there for her when ever she needed her, no matter what the problem was. My Mother then said that if there is anything that is important to me even if I didn't feel that she would like it, I should feel that I could come to her for love and support. I then told her to drive to this hill that over looked Charleston.
Look for the arrow (borrowed from a friends site... Scott Thanks Scott for letting me use the pic!)
Actually it was a favorite parking spot, that was great for making out. Well, I started to cry. I said, between sobs, that I had something to tell her. Before I got it out, she said, "Your Gay, Aren't you?" I broke down and said yes. She said that she knew, I would always be her son, and she would always love me. Mother's gone now, but I will always remember that spot on the hill, and a part of my Gay history that was made there, with fond memories.
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