when i knew #15.
by Michael King
“I was 19 at the time I first kissed a guy. I had recently broken up with a girl, and I met him in a show I was doing. He told me he was straight too. He dared me to kiss him, but I didn’t need dared – I wanted to. He told me, ‘Just because you kiss a guy doesn’t make you gay.’ So these two straight guys kissed, which … led to other things. We were together for about five months. Neither of us admitted to being gay – just two straight guys having a good time. I fell for him, hard. And so I broke it off.
“Being gay is wrong. Continue living the lie. The words of the sermons at church echoed in my ear. I was not gay. I just needed to be fixed. When I transferred to a residential college, I moved with the hope of a new start. I was ready to embrace these heteronormative values and to find the girl of my dreams and make her my wife.
“I quickly connected to a girl at my new college, and we started dating. With all the emotions of my past behind me at home, I began to build a future with her. It worked for about a year, but with every passing day that image of a perfect wife and family dwindled. I wasn’t her that I saw. There was something else I was not acknowledging.
“I began to cheat on her with men. The emotions I felt being with him, the first guy I fell for, came back to me. I needed to explore the possibility of finding true happiness with a guy. Which is kind hard to do when you are with a different guy every other week. I felt ashamed, but I didn’t know how else to satisfy my desire. I finally told myself that maybe there was a possibility that the feelings I have felt for most of my life are because of how I was made.
“Things quickly fell into place the end of my senior year. A boy I admired from across the choir room every day changed the world for me. Having wanted to be heard, I shared with him things I hadn’t told anyone yet: I liked guys and I wanted to be with one. He listened. He held me. He wanted me to be set free. While I always had feelings that I might be different, it wasn’t until him that I finally had the courage to come out to myself.
“The rest, I guess, is history: I quickly broke up with my girlfriend, found solace and advice from two good friends, and fell in love with the man who sat behind me in choir. I will ask this man to marry me someday…
“But that’s another story for another day.”