On The Fringe

I remember the very minute and day I came out of the closet. It happened one chilly March morning. I sat with my friend Kelsey behind the history class along a grassy knoll, complaining about my mom’s conservative views. Suddenly, I let it slip ” I like men.” My life would change from that moment on, even though school was no stroll through Christopher Street.

My high school years lacked the charm promised in the films of John Hughes. Therefore, I thought to myself ” the hell with it.” I came at fifteen years old. My life then transformed. Bullying continued and I would come out of the closet more times in life. However, as I grew older going to college, living in New York and working in the creative field, being gay became second nature.

Growing older meant I had many friends who came out of the closet to me. There was the cute guy in art class. We mingled at art museum exhibition. He had red hair, glasses and was completely adorable.

As we talked, I could feel his artistic energy, but thought he was just another open-minded straight guy. Then I changed the subject from art to “Sex and the City,” which made him come out of the closet. Wow, the seemingly unattainable arty guy and I started dating.

Then there are guy friends, whom I was close with but have no idea were gay. One of my best friends in the city kept his gayness hidden for years. I had no idea. Even with all my gay talk, he didn’t say anything about his own feelings.

Until one day, we had dinner in the Village, when he goes ” I like guys.” Our friendship would deepen with the revelation. We celebrated by having drinks at some fun gay bars in the West Village.

Most of the time, guys who I know are gay and I will just get into our homosexual talk quickly. Talk about fashion, music and art ensues, while men are always brought in at the tail end. No “surprise I’m gay announcement” required.

When I came out of the closet, homophobia was accepted. The word “fag” was uttered often. These days with bullying making news headlines, I can honestly say I survived that era in my life. I find humor in my journey as a gay man. The best part of being openly gay is the ability to be who I am without carrying about somebody’s opinion.

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