when i knew #6.

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“It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when I ‘knew.’ Perhaps when I admitted it is a better way to navigate this story. I always thought I might be gay from a young age. I would make a comment that would seem out of character for a boy, and friends or family members would follow up with, ‘That’s kind of gay, don’t you think?’ Speaking with a lisp intensified these comments. People can be cruel after all.

“However, every time my sexuality crossed my mind, I would immediately dismiss the thought. High school proved more difficult to avoid these thoughts. A tri-sport athlete and a member of the High School Wrestling Team, I spent much time around good-looking young men. It was hard not to notice my feelings for them. I worked hard to bury these emotions for four years.

“When I reached my sophomore year of college, I was struggling with these feelings more than ever. At 19, I attended a weekend retreat put on by my college’s Campus Ministry department. The retreat focused on personal and spiritual growth. While it wasn’t based around religion, God was central to many of the activities and discussion that weekend. During a part of the retreat, the attendants wrote a private letter to God that they later burned as an offering to him. The letter could be about whatever we wanted. I chose to ask God why he made me gay. Why would he put me through this pain and misery? My letter went on for five pages. I berated God. I told him I hated him, that I hated myself. I was pissed off, and I let him know it. I deserved to know why I was different. Why I was destined to go to hell according to the Bible.

“This was the first time I ever wrote the words, ‘I am gay.’ Tears streamed down my face as I knelt before the fire. I felt so broken as I tossed my letter into the pit and watched it burn.”

– R

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