when i knew #1.
by Michael King
“I think a little part of me always knew I was gay even before I had the words to express it to myself or others. There was always this voice of dissent in the back of my mind that, when someone would make a comment about me in relation to a girl, would say, ‘No, not really’ or ‘What do you mean?’
“I vividly remember watching She’s the Man starring Channing Tatum when I was 14 and having all of these thoughts about Tatum’s character. He was gorgeous.
“I moved past those confusing thoughts into high school and dated several girls. They were typical high school relationships in that they lasted a few months and then broke apart. One of these relationships lasted longer than the others, and I remember her asking me, after eight months of dating: ‘Why haven’t we had sex yet?’
“What a perplexing question to be asked as a 17-year-old male! The door was wide open for me to do what I was always told I should do. This incredible experience was at my fingertips, but I couldn’t even wrap my head around it. I couldn’t even imagine myself doing that, let alone actually performing it. I just knew my anatomy wouldn’t cooperate. After all the years of compartmentalizing it, hiding it, shoving it away, watching gay porn, lusting after other guys, I just couldn’t hide it anymore.
“’It’s just a phase you’re going through.’ ‘You’ll find the right girl someday!’ All of these sayings were floating around in my head. The denial was so real, but that simple question from my girlfriend made me realize that I just could not be that person. It was wrong of me to string her along, and, even more so, it was wrong of me to string myself along. It was time to stop hiding. That’s when I knew.”