Ricky, 23. 

In 2010, I wrote a coming out piece called “My Story” for the BOYOBOY zine series. In the piece, I spoke about feeling “different” in my childhood and being bullied for liking Sailor Moon, Barbie, and other “girlie” things. I also mentioned my middle and high school years, when the bullying got worse. Interestingly, I omitted the parts about me feeling ashamed of myself and considering the priesthood and suicide as solutions for dealing with my shame. Why did I leave out these important details? Was I so keen on “inspiring queer youth everywhere” that I decided to jump straight from bullying to the good things that happened after I came out? Perhaps. But now I see that those details were just as important. They have shaped my experience as a queer gay man along with other negative events that happened after I came out: being sexually assaulted, being attacked in public, dealing with shame about my body …

Consider this piece “My Story Revisited.” As you can tell from some of the aforementioned experiences, life hasn’t been perfect for me since coming out. In some cases, I’ve had to deal with things that I might not have encountered if I had stayed in the closet. However, that is not to say that my life hasn’t gotten better since coming out. Because it certainly has. I’ve met other queer and trans people and have developed amazing relationships with them. I’ve had sex, lots of it, learning how to be assertive so that my needs are met and I enjoy sex. I’ve found a career path that challenges and excites me. I’ve discovered what “community” is and feels like. I’ve developed more adaptive coping mechanisms for dealing with the shame, anxiety, and depression that still haunt me. And I’ve learned that coming out is a complex and endless process. For me now, coming out has gone from telling others my sexual orientation to disclosing that I’m a bottom, a femme boi, a drag queen, an activist, a feminist, a social worker, a pocket gay, a guy who’s into kink and leather, a guy who dates and loves HIV-positive guys … I would not have discovered or experienced many of these things if I had not come out. And for this reason I will continue to come out. Let’s see where it takes me this time.


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