when i knew #36.
by Michael King
“As a child, I experienced what too many people in our world experience: rape. At the age of 5, I was raped and then molested for an additional three years until the man left my hometown. The idea of ever being with a man or liking a boy after such a dark time in my life was simply out of the question. I liked girls.
“My gestures, speech pattern, and even personality all seemed stereotypically characteristic of a gay man but I was confident in who I was. I had a number of girlfriends, and, though I could recognize certain men as attractive, it did little to sway me from my hormonal obsession with the female body as a teenager!
“Coming to college, I was still bombarded with the typical questions about whether or not I was gay. Without sharing my personal story, it was difficult for people to understand, and many just assumed I was in the closet and would eventually come out. It didn’t help that I admitted to finding some men attractive. To quell the masses, I began to label myself along the Kinsey scale. Essentially, this boiled down to me admitting to finding some men attractive but only sexually pursuing and engaging with women.
“My junior year brought about a bit of a change. I was going to hang out with my best friend and one his guy friends. My friend bailed last minute (not out of place for him to do), and so it was just me and a guy I barely knew watching Disney movies in my room. We talked, made some jokes and started to connect in a different way than I connected with my other male friends.
“I don’t know why that day. I don’t even remember what else was going on in my life that made me more confident that this was okay. But, at one point, I looked at him and said, ‘I really want to kiss you.’ And we did.
“He was the first guy I could see myself with. He was sweet, funny, smart, cute, and an amazing person. It didn’t make me like girls any less, and I was incredibly happy. The relationship with him was such an eye-opening experience for me and helped me to realize that I like both girls and guys – and that is okay.”