"You’ve gotta give them hope." -Harvey Milk
My name is John. I am a normal American twenty something. There is nothing wrong with me, and even though it took me a long time to figure that out, I have. I am proud of who I am; who I have become. I am gay, and that is perfectly fine. I am happy, which is another thing that I couldn’t say for a very long time. I am happy! I dream of success and happiness; of having a family; of marrying the man I love.
This revelation isn’t to shock anyone or praise myself, but to show those out there struggling with their own identity, gay or not, that it does get better. I hated myself for so long. I wanted to die just so I wouldn’t have to be me anymore, but I just couldn’t see the amazing future ahead of me. It is hard growing up with uncertainties about one’s self. It is a struggle to get out of bed and willingly go to a school where there will absolutely be name calling, shoves into lockers, rumors and, worse, the embarrassment that conditions us to be ashamed of ourselves. I am not ashamed anymore, and just want to send a message of hope to anyone struggling with anything. You can not be ashamed of yourself. There is nothing wrong with you, and you were made perfectly.
Be proud of who you are, and unafraid to be that. I wasted too much time hiding, only to find out that I had only caused myself prolonged unhappiness and greatly underestimated the people who love me. As cliche’ as it sounds, truth is freedom. I have never felt more real; more happy; more alive. A huge burden has been lifted from me, and it is better. It got better for me, it will for you too.
We have to make ourselves known, not just for our own happiness, but for the greater good of our entire community. We must speak out, proudly, about who we our, letting people know that we are not ‘going through a phase’ or ‘plagued by a sickness’, but that we are a community of people (friends, neighbors, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, service men and women, the list can go on and on.) just looking to live as freely as everyone else equally, with our deserved rights. If you ever doubt that you are loved, I love you, and again, it does get better!