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Aric, 18. 

I came out at 17, the summer I spent home from school.

I knew I was gay since I was 10, or knew that I was different. I knew that I liked boys… and had crushes on the boys in school. For the longest time I denied that I was gay; I didn’t want things to change with my friends and family. Coming from a very religious background and hearing “gay is wrong,” “two men isn’t natural,” “gays don’t get into heaven,” made it even harder to come out to myself. Which as a young gay man is the first step to accepting yourself.   When I did come out to myself it was like a weight was lifted off me. I stood in the mirror and said it: “I am gay…I’m gay.”  It was nice to say it.

At that point I knew that I wanted to come out.   I had told my sister now, so it was time to tell my mom. That part scared me. When the time came I took her on a walk. We went for three laps around the track.   I didn’t know how I was going to say it, so I just said it: “Mom, I’m gay.” She said, “I know.”  What happened after that involved tears and yelling – mostly on my part.  I knew that she was doing her best to understand, and in her own way she did. She said that when she found out she went online to try and better understand me.

Coming out after that was easy; it wasn’t a big deal to me after that. Telling my friends after that was easy. I blasted it out in a group Facebook message…being me, it was wordy and over dramatized when it could have been two words: “I’m gay.”

Being in the closet healed me, but I didn’t let people get to know the real me. Coming out has allowed me to get close to people and even find love. I’ll be nineteen soon and the world is a different place for me than it was three years ago.

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