Three years ago, at 20 years old, I came out for the first time.
After spending an entire summer ignoring the desire to be known fully, I finally decided I was going to come out to a few friends of mine in the fall. It was in San Diego on October 25th, 2012, after Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' concert. I remember driving down towards San Diego with one of my best friends in the car, anxiously making small talk while really thinking about what I would say, how would I say it, and how they'd react. Driving turned into waiting in line at the venue, which turned to waiting for the concert to end, to finally heading over to my friends place with three of my best friends. There it was, the moment I've been dreading since my early adolescence, being known.
There’s a lot I don’t remember about what happened next, honestly it seems like a pretty big blur. I don’t remember what I said or how I phrased things, although I know I certainly wasn’t using terminology like “gay” or “coming out” then. I have no idea how long our conversation lasted, and I don’t really remember how it ended.
Here’s what I do remember: It felt like the biggest weight was lifted off my shoulders, even though I expected them to respond well. I expressed my fears about how this disclosure would change our relationships, their immediate confident reply was that it did not affect the way they saw me. They hugged me and thanked me for trusting them, which communicated love and debunked any of my own stereotypes about homophobia among straight men. And that night, when the dust settled, I felt more relief than I’ve ever felt in my life.
Maybe it’s strange that I came out for the first time to Christians after a Macklemore concert. The potential irony of the situation escaped me at the time because, as far as I was concerned, I was just telling some of the safest people I knew. And evidently, I made a good choice. Over the next few years, as I continued the process of coming out to others, of trying to determine who exactly I was, and of trying to reconcile all of this with my faith. They have remained loyal and I am so grateful for them.
I haven’t found perfect answers for my countless questions about the intersection of faith and sexuality. Nor do I have guaranteed solutions for the endless public conflicts between evangelical Christians, LGBT communities, Republicans, Democrats, middle school bullies, the American Psychological Association, or Macklemore. What I have learned, though, is that I am incapable of walking this journey on my own, and everything started to change when I came out three years ago.