I grew up a born again Christian. As a child Christ was my father, as my actual father was a stranger. My mother was both parents and did a great job, but always taught us to put God first. My first attraction was Bon Jovi: his talent, his tight pants… As a child I told my mom I wanted to be him; now I realize it was more than that. The small Nova Scotian town I lived in didn’t know how to treat a singing, dancing ‘fag.’ Hiding who I was – but still enjoying the gifts I had been given – was difficult and puzzling. At 16 something changed; the years of self-hate and suicidal thoughts had to go, and I decided to accept and love myself as I was: a talented, smart man-loving-man! This didn’t bode well with my church family. I was told I wasn’t welcome in the church, and the pastor told mother of my homosexuality. Soon after being cast out I met the most amazing and life-changing man. We spent 13 beautiful years in love. This year we decided our love is strong, but not romantic. So here I am: 30, living on my own for the first time, and discovering what it is to finally love myself. No religion, parent, or partner. Just my goals, morals and dreams. I don’t know what the future holds, but I have a feeling I am exactly where I should be, and what I’ve been through has shaped the man I am today. As I sip this glass of red in the bathtub and write my story for the first time, I toast the kids today who feel different and unclean. Time heals, and self-acceptance trumps any book of the bible.