How did you first come out of the closet? Were you always out — prancing around in heels, screaming “wooooooork” since you were a tyke? Were you caught in a non-heterosexual act? Perhaps you didn’t have to “come-out”…maybe your family and closest friends always knew, and were always accepting, preventing a “we need to talk” moment with them. For me, telling anyone in my family face-to-face would have been a nightmare. My entire family identified as “Christians” who believed homosexuality was the fastest way to hell. My mother, the more militant of the bunch, was a holy-spirit inducing, tongues-speaking, bible warrior. Despite us always being really close, she was the person I feared telling the most, as I knew it would hurt and confuse her.
So, I did what any technologically savvy, god-fearing teenager would do — I came out on my Xanga. For those of you too young to know or too old to remember, Xanga was an online journal; much like WordPress is now, but back then it was associated with whiny little tweens who needed an outlet to talk about their difficult fourteen-year-old lives. About a year ago, I tried logging-into my old account to retrieve my old entries, but the site had since been bought out and shut down. Retrieving the data was possible, but seemed time-consuming, so I decided to let the past go. Little did I know, my mother, who “has better things to do than lurk my online social life”, had saved a copy of my “coming-out” entry. She gave it to me about a week ago.
The following is an exact copy of what I wrote six-and-a-half years ago, on October 23, 2007 — two months after moving two-hundred miles away from home as a freshman at Indiana University. I was eighteen years old. (Grab a trash can — the grammatical errors are sickening.) Following most paragraphs, I will add my current opinion (italicized) on my past justification on certain topics.
I’m tired of living my life like this. Some of you may “know”, some of you may have suspected, but here it is…
I’ve been attracted to, and have been doing stuff with guys since middle school. When things first started happening I thought it was just a phase, so I dated and hooked up with random girls to see if my attraction to guys would diminish over time. Most of the girls I did stuff with were worthless sluts that I could give two shits less about now. After a while I knew that my attraction to guys wasn’t going to go away. I still am, however, attracted to girls, and if the right one came along I would have no problem dating one. It’s just..like I said, a lot of the girls I did stuff with or who liked were more or less pathetic, overdramatic high school girls that were seriously worthless to life. My mind was set on the thought, “Well, if the only girls that go for me suck, maybe I should be with a guy.”
(It did not take long for me to realize how much I tried blaming my homosexuality on women. I wasn’t yet ready to say, “Hey, world, I’m 110% gay.” Instead, it was more like, “Hey, I’m only 30% gay, and I’m sure it will drop to 0% when a woman worthy of my love comes along. Currently, they’re all worthless, so, I guess I’ll be gay forever! Blame the women, Jesus!” To be honest, all of the women I dated or messed around with to suppress my real feelings were sweet, caring girls, who truly cared about me. And I cared about them.)
As anyone can imagine (but probably not), coming out and saying this is literally the hardest, scariest thing I’ve ever done. I’m still unsure whether or not there is a God, but if he does exist then, based on the religion that has been presented to me my entire life, I’m going to burn in hell for all eternity. If you’re my good friend you know how afraid I am of dying, and the fact that I like guys is why.
(From ages 4-14, I cried any time I thought about death. It scared the shit out of me. “Joshua, you’re so young, you have so many years ahead of you!” my mom would say. Little did she know, the fear of going to hell for my feelings was always in my conscious mind. It’s not surprising that so many religious men are virgins, or are thought to be “in the closet”, as they’ve had to suppress most of their sexual feelings. I don’t know whether sexuality is a result of nature, nurture, or a mix of both, but telling someone they have to be straight their entire lives will definitely lead to experimentation. We all end up doing what our parents don’t want us to do, right? =D )
For those of you who heard the supposed “rumor”, Alex and I did date for a few months in my junior year of high school. I’d like to apologize on behalf of Christie and Alex for trying to cover it up for me every time someone asked them about it.
(Christie was, and still is my best friend since sixth grade. Alex, my first boyfriend and I, were once caught making out at a party. I tried covering it up as best I could.)
If you’re my friend and you have a problem with this, I totally understand. But, to make you feel guilty, I’ll say this: you were friends with me before you knew I liked guys and just because everyone now knows doesn’t change who I am. I’m well aware that people look at “gay” people differently, and I hope that, if you care about me, you won’t give a shit what my sexuality is (sort of similar to you not caring what my ethnicity is).
(Hahahahahah, “sort of similar”….HATRED IS HATRED, Y’ALL. I WAS SO SCARED AND CONFUSED.)
When I come back to South Bend, if you even think of making any jokes, or think that calling me a fag, queer, or the apparent new popular phrase “faggy boy”, I don’t want to be associated with you whatsoever. The same thing goes for anyone who is going to be cool to my face just because you know me, but then talk shit when I’m not there. Being biracial, I’ve had to deal with enough racism and bigotry growing up, so I’d appreciate you keeping your negative, closed minded comments to yourself.
(All of my guy friends in high school were straight. And not “fake” straight (well, for the most part.) They started calling each other “faggy boy” as a joke. I went along with it, as any opposition would “out” me for sure. Once I came out, however, I figured there was no need for me to hide my frustration with and opposition to the word “fag”. Look at me now, parading around and promoting the word “fag”. I’m taking it back. Fagtastic.)
I appreciate everyone who has been supportive of me through this. Justin, Michael Jordan, and obviously Alex have known for awhile, and I just told Christie about it a few weeks after we came to IU. I can’t stress enough how scared i am to be posting it just because I know people will look at me differently…but these aforementioned people have treated me exactly the same, and I love them so much for it. In addition, this is my formal apology to anyone who feels lied to. People have asked me if I was gay and I’e always said no (even though I don’t label myself as gay, but that’s another explanation all in itself). For people I simply haven’t told, I’m sure you can understand why.
(I have always been over-apologetic, but after reading this now, I cannot believe I apologized for being gay. Granted, I’m not exactly apologizing for my feelings — rather, for not telling the people I care about who I truly am. I’m gay, and I probably made out with your boyfriend, ladies. NOT sorry.)
Whoever is able to make comments, I’d appreciate your support if you have it. If not, a phone call or text would be nice. Imagine yourself in my shoes. We all know how society looks at “gay” people which is part of why I’ve been so afraid to tell anyone. But here it is. I’ve felt flustered and sick the entire time I’ve written this, haha. Thanks to everyone in advance who will still treat me like the same Josh. If you want to ask me more about it don’t hesitate (in private, obviously). I have no problems talking to you about it just as long as you actually care, and if you know I trust you. Those of you who look at me differently can, frankly, take their simple-minded bigotry attitude and shove it up their ass.
(I received a lot of phone calls, texts, and emails immediately. I literally sat in my dorm room for an hour and a half before going outside and facing the world. My mother, who has better things to do than lurk, was the first person to call me. She was crying, ensuring me people had been healed of homosexuality in the past, asking why I didn’t tell her, letting me know people are praying for me, etc. etc. It took a few years for us to be okay, and we are still quite close. Every one of my friends, despite currently being separated by distance, was and still is happy to be associated with Ms. Joshua Jenkins.)
The longer you withhold the truth, the more your entire existence feels like a lie. Be who you are. Walk with pride. Ignore people who try to bring you pain. You’re #flawless, and I love you xoxoxoxoxoxo. Whatever your “coming-out” experience is, please share it in the comments.