“I’m not sure how to categorize my story. I saw the ‘when I knew’ posts and I found myself getting choked up at so many stories that sounded like my own. I decided to participate in the ‘if I could change’ project, but I guess this can go either way.
“I first realized I was attracted to men in the fourth grade. I remember an ad popping up on the computer for some kind of underwear company, and it was a muscular man. I was amazed at his body and how tight and strong he looked. It was the first time I ever found myself thinking a man was ‘cute.’ I then decided to look up pictures of men in underwear. My dad came home that night from work and looked at the browsing history and was stunned by what he saw. At dinner that night, he sat my sister and me down and had a talk with us. I admitted to being the one looking at the pictures, but I played it off as me being innocent and confused.
“As I grew up, no matter what I tried, I couldn’t get pictures of men out of my head. I had a few girlfriends and eventually lost my virginity to a girl. My parents found out, and I knew I finally had them believing I was straight, even though I still had thoughts of men in my head.
“I went to work correcting my ‘orientation.’ I began watching porn with threesomes, which I reasoned was ‘straight’ because a woman was involved. In high school, as a freshman, I admitted to myself that I was into guys, but I started to feel ‘wrong’ about it again by my junior year. I started watching lesbian porn, trying to make myself straight. While I watched the porn, I found myself opening tabs to look at guys too. I Googled ways to act straight and to think straight. I started lying to people and telling them I was hooking up with girls from other schools so that they thought I wasn’t gay. High school was hell for me.
“Eventually, I met a man on Grindr, and we had sex. I felt absolutely disgusting. I told myself I would never do it again and that it wasn’t for me. However, a week or two later, I began watching gay porn again. I graduated high school as a liar. I told so many people so many lies to try to cover my true identity.
“Coming to college, I began to find more people like me: people who loved people for who they are. I have only told a few close friends, so sharing this is a huge step for me, but I can say for sure that I would never change myself. I tried so hard to do that in high school, and it was so much added stress.
“The one thing I am jealous of completely straight people is that they don’t have to explain themselves to anyone. They are ‘normal.’ They don’t have to worry about laws to get married. They can – besides a few barriers for some – have kids whenever they want. If I end up marrying a man, we will need to adopt or find a wiling surrogate. Straight people don’t have to worry if their parents will still love them for being with who their heart wants. They don’t have to participate in blogs explaining when they first realized they were straight. It’s hard being a part of the LGBT+ community, but I feel it makes me stronger as a person, and it teaches me that no matter what happens, I will have someone there to turn to.”