In 2011 I came out while simultaneously accepting Christ. Apparently, that is a very odd thing to do, especially on a Southern Baptist mission Trip in Lousiana. My camp counselor cried tears of joy for me, but looking back on it I think he thought I was rejecting my homosexuality, rather than affirming it. I thought I couldn’t be a good Christian if I wasn’t being honest with myself, my community, and God. So this decision made perfect sense to me at the time, and I stand by that, even though I don’t attend church much anymore (for many reasons that do not pertain to this discussion).
I was the only gay man I knew when I came out. I didn’t meet another one, who was out, until I graduated from high school in 2014. So, there was a lot that I didn’t know about being gay, and no real role model for that. It also didn’t help that homosexuality was not something to be talked about in the town I grew up in. So, for awhile I was one of those straight-acting gays. This led to a lot of internalized homophobia that I have really overcome during my time in college. It’s amazing what finding a community if similar people can do for someone.
My most recent realization was that I no longer want to get married. I mean I can, and kind of want to, but it’s not my most pressing concern anymore. When I was younger all I wanted was to have a wife and a family. And now I am uncertain. This uncertainty has left me at an impasse, and awkward middle ground in which I straddle two opposing worlds. I could go on the homonormative route of marriage, a family, and acceptance. Or I could go for a more queer experience and do something other than what is expected. But that right there is the kicker, I am not expected to do anything. After coming out, I wasn’t exactly shut out from a heteronormative lifestyle (especially when marriage equality was legalized), but no one expected me to follow that path anymore. That kind of freedom is daunting and exciting. I can live my life however I want, but I don’t always know what I want. I could even try forging a life in between queer time and homonormativity, but that seems more difficult than choosing one or the other.
Regardless of what path I choose for myself, it most likely won’t follow the vision I had for my future when I came out. And that isn’t a bad thing. If anything, I have only grown more comfortable with my homosexuality and embraced it, maybe not to the point that I could be called ‘queer’ but enough to no longer pass for straight. This acceptance has only raised new challenges, but I think I, and anyone else on this journey of acceptance, are better equipped for the challences that lie ahead.