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Apr 17

Growing up gay in the south.


Hi guys, I thought I would write because since I last saw you all some things have transpired and it made me feel like I wanted to write to you to possibly share my story on your show. I’m not sure if I told you the whole story about

Growing up in the south being gay. I was born in Toms River, New Jersey. However, I spent most of my life in Longport, New Jersey. Middle school was hard. Coming out made a world of trouble for me. I was beaten, spit on, and practically tortured when I came out. after middle school. around spring of 2016, I became an activist for LGBTQ+ rights/bullying awareness . I didn’t want anyone else to have to go through what I went through. I feel a lot of pressure to take care of my family but instead of complaining about it and crying about it I decided to be the man and stand up for myself and my family. I could’ve cried and I could’ve complained but I decided to take all that energy and become an advocate for others.

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  • For several years of my life, I had a ruminating thought that would fill my entire head all day, "I'm a lesbian." It drove me crazy, I became obsessed and I couldn't drown the thought out. I had a boyfriend at the time. For four years. I told him everything, so I told him about this thought, when I built up the courage. He told me he would explore that thought with me. What did that mean? It meant that in he would get to experience me and another women in the bed together. Wasn't this selfish, I thought. Yes. Of course. I told him I needed to explore the thought by myself for myself. He told me that he loved me and would be there for me regardless. Over time and thousands of times hearing the same thought in my head, life began to change dramatically and not because of the exploration of my sexuality, but I got pregnant. Did I want my boyfriend to be the father of my first born? Was I responsible enough to have and raise a child? Did I feel comfortable in my own skin to raise a baby properly and as a proud individual and woman? The answer was NO. Getting pregnant was my way out of a relationship that was so unfulfilling and it was the door I needed to walk through to get to know myself for all that I am. It was a door that allowed me to enter an unfamiliar world of people who dated individuals of the same sex, a place very uncomfortable at first and a place I didn't want to ever fit in to. Fast forward, I met my first girlfriend New Years Eve 2018. Her name is Jess and she is 5.5 years younger than me. Jess ignited a fire in me that never existed. She made me feel like I could express my sexuality with no judgement, she made me feel loved, sexy, beautiful, funny and she tried so hard to make me feel comfortable and OK with our relationship. Things were long distance at first. In fact, we always joked that we lived in each others phones. We would text all day and stay up for hours on end talking about anything and everything. It felt freeing, it felt intoxicating, we were so connected on so many levels. We told one another that we loved each other over the phone. It was intense. It felt like a rush every time. She finally came home and I decided to ask her to be my girlfriend. But for some reason, I developed a gut feeling that she wasn't supposed to be in my life as an intimate partner. The feeling never went away and it became my new rumination. A thought that replaced "I'm a lesbian." It was unbearable - I was being dishonest to myself and to her...But I wanted to fall in love with her because she is an amazing person and checked every box I wanted in a life partner. So I would tell myself I loved her and she was supposed to be in my life as a girlfriend, but that thought was dishonest and made me feel sick. And then I'd go back to she's not supposed to be in my life, that made me feel relieved bc it was the truth. After months of ruminating and spending countless hours and weekends with her, I finally broke down and the truth all came out. I needed to be honest with her and myself bc I stopped eating, felt depressed, couldn't keep food down, was unproductive at work and downright felt totally helpless like life had no purpose. It wasn't me. I had never been sad or lied to someone else. I realized it was a co-dependence. I was so used to her and the love she gave to me that I tried to convince myself I was in love with her so that I could find that great love I'd always dreamt of. We broke things off and I was severely depressed, went on medication, took about a month for it to work in my system and finally came out the other side OK, but not great. Fast-forward I would tell myself and my friends that I tried the girl thing and it wasn't going to be my long term, that I would be with a man and sleep with women to fulfill my sexual desires. I was giving myself an answer, trying to tell myself what my future would hold, what gender would be with me intimately as my life partner, just because of one female who made me uncomfortable simply because she wasn't right for me, not because of her being a girl. After countless therapy sessions, I told myself I won't have the answer and that I'll do and be with whoever makes me feel happy and fulfilled regardless of gender, race or creed. That I would be with the person who makes me happy, because love is genderless and love is love.
  • I have always known that I was gay but growing up in my home where we went to church every Sunday and hung out with people from the church, it wasn’t something they agreed with, ecspecially my mom. So I forced myself to be straight until I was 24. It is a confusing thing. I was confused for awhie, like is this a phase or is this me. I even tried to kill myself because at the time i would have rather been dead then people knowing who i truly am. I truly believe in signs and yes I am a gay person who prays. I prayed, and asked God who am I and who am I supposed to love. I kid you not looked out the window and there was a rainbow. I know that sounds cheesy but come on, what better sign to have when your questioning if your gay or not. I remember sitting in my living room watching a tv show with my mom and two girls kissed. She made the statement “ew that’s disgusting, God hates them“. I stood up for them a little bit but I didn’t want to be too obvious. But I never hear her say that when a guy and a girl are Kissing. I always dressed like a girly girl because that’s who my mom wanted me to be but I was so uncomfortable. I finally got to the point where I didn’t want to hide who I was anymore. I slowly started telling people in my life. My friends, my siblings and some relatives and they were surprisingly so accepting. This whole time I thought they were going to disown me but they truly accepted me. They gave me confidence. They made me strong. I met someone, and she is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. We started dating last December. Then new years came around, new year new me. This sounds childish but it’s the only way I could get my mom to listen. 12am the ball dropped and I kissed my girlfriend. I sent a text to my mom “happy new year, I’m gay”. I heard nothing from her for days. She cried and cried to her friends. She told me she just doesn’t understand how I could choose this life. I told her it wasn’t about choosing. It’s who God made me to be. She pushed back and pushed back. Even when I would call her and tell her about a fire I had at the fire department or a patient I helped from a car accident, she still couldn’t look me in the eyes or say she’s proud. But I decided I will not go back to hiding who I am. So if people didn’t accept me then there’s the door. I think my mom finally started to realize that. She wanted to meet my girlfriend. she wanted me to bring her around the family. This Christmas my girlfriend got more gifts from my parents then I did and that made me so happy. I am so comfortable with who I am, I dress the way I wanna dress, I say that I’m gay out loud. i am not saying that it is easy after you come out because you will still run into problems. I lost friends, christians have called me a queer, and people stare and get uncomfortable. But it is 100 times better then not being who you are and hiding. I went to my first pride and it was amazing! I met so many amazing people who also had stories to tell. People from my church growing up comes up to me and asks how my girlfriend is. what!? I was so hesitant for the longest time and i never gave people the benifit Of the doubt. My family has made strides since the beginning and I am very proud of them. Please, listen to the song “scars to your beautiful“ it got me through so much when I was coming out. Be who you were born to be and don’t hide it for a single second. Life is so much better when you are true to yourself.
  • I am a 31 year old mother of two absolutely brilliant kids. My life hasn't exactly been all sunshine and rainbows; I've had my fair share of heartbreak, but after reading so many stories on here, I definitely feel fortunate to have had the life I have had so far.  Just as a little back story to who I am, I thought I'd start with some basics. I am one of 5 kids and the youngest. My parents got divorced when I was 5, and we lived with my amazing mother full time. We saw my dad on the weekends when he wasn't working and kept an okay relationship with him. He was a doctor and worked stupid hours, so to say that it was weird not having him live at home with us would be a lie. I didn't feel like there was much adjusting to do when it came to their divorce - until he got remarried. My stepmom had 5 kids of her own and then they had a child together after they got married. There was an incident with one of my stepbrothers where I woke up to him hovering over me and his hand down my pants when I was asleep. I screamed and he ran, but my sister saw him leave our bedroom. I woke my dad up and told him and my stepmom what had happened, but it was like they didn't believe me. I was never given an apology or any kind of explanation as to why they didn't believe me, but this was the last weekend I ever stayed the night at my dad's house. My mother absolutely wouldn't allow it to happen. This was a pivotal moment in my dad and I's relationship.   My mother was diagnosed with cancer the day after Thanksgiving when I was 12. It was the worst day of my life up until that point. She fought so incredibly hard and we thought she had it beat so many times, but it just kept coming back. She eventually lost her battle when I was 15 - the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of high school. She was and is to this day, the most amazing woman I have ever met. It is crazy to think that I have lived half of my life without her. I moved in with my dad, being as I was only 15 and a minor; however, the stepbrother that had assaulted me no longer lived at home. It didn't last long. I lived with my dad and stepmom for less than a year before I just packed up my stuff and moved out one weekend. I had been gone for 3 days before my dad even called to check on me. To say that I have had some serious daddy issues would be an understatement of epic proportions. I have since tried to find men to fix, because I couldn't fix my dad. I couldn't make him love me and I was never enough for him, so I sought out men just like him to try and repair that relationship (I learned this after a year of weekly therapy sessions...). Obviously, this was a terrible idea and not the way to handle the hurt and pain I felt from the brokenness between my dad and I.  Fast forward to age 20...I met a man that I immediately fell in love with - he was charming and cute, and said everything that I had always wanted to hear. Things with him moved very quickly and I ignored all the red flags because I just knew that I could be the one to fix him. I got pregnant with our son very soon in our relationship, and he freaked out and ran back to his ex. Things remained pretty weird between us for a while and he would constantly tell me that I was the woman he wanted to be with...7 months after I had our son, I found out I was pregnant again. I made so many mistakes back then, but I truly loved him and was looking for validation that I was enough to make him want to be different. Our daughter was born 16 months after our son. I tried so hard to move on when he still didn't want to commit to me, but I kept being drawn back to him. He always knew when he needed to reel me in and keep me where he wanted me. A lot of things changed and happened over the next year, and we eventually decided to relocate together, as a family, to try and make things work. So, 2 1/2 hours away from most of my family, I moved to make it work with the man I just knew I could fix and spend the rest of my life with... Fast forward to age 29...I have been living with and engaged to my children's father for 7 years. We have a happy, healthy relationship and everything is going wonderfully - so I thought. Until one day, I opened the phone bill and found a weird number that he had been texting and called it. No one answered, but the voicemail was a woman. It wasn't just a few text messages - it was over 3,000 in one month. He drove a semi (that I bought with my inheritance money), and we had just started a company together. He would call me every morning when he was gone and make sure that I was up for work, and immediately after calling me, he would call her. I didn't bring it up for a while because I wanted to do some more investigating. I found so much stuff that I wish I had never found, but at the same time, I am so glad I learned the truth. He had been cheating on me with not just one woman, but three...and for a long time. He swore that he loved me and was happy with me and just had a problem, but it was too much to take.  I confided in my best friend through all of this...she is amazing. She supported me when I tried to stay and make it work. She helped me pack my shit when I decided I couldn't take it anymore. She helped me move my shit back when I just couldn't handle not being with him. She has been everything to me and for me and my kids. I wish I could truly explain the depths of which she loves me. I don't know many people who would stick around for all the drama that occured, but she never left my side.  Fast forward a year and a half...she tells me that she is in love with me. I was shocked and giddy all at the same time. I had been having the same feelings for her, but I was too scared to even really acknowledge them. I had never considered that I could be attracted to a female. That just wasn't who I was. It wasn't who I had ever been, but I was so hopelessly in love with her that I just couldn't help but tell her I was too. I knew I had finally figured out who I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with, but I was so scared. I fought it for so long because I thought that I couldn't handle the backlash I just knew I would get. It wasn't like I needed to "come out" because I don't label myself as a lesbian necessarily - it's just her. I fell in love with her and who I am when I am with her. We are currently together and it is the most amazing feeling to be loved for who you are and completely adored for all the dorky and weird things that someone else hates about you. It is so amazing to feel completely comfortable in your own skin. It is a feeling I never thought I would feel. My kids love and adore her and the feeling is mutual. Their dad is still learning to be okay with it, but he is trying and that is all I can ask of him at this point. There are still people that I am scared to tell. I am still scared to hold her hand in public, or actually post that I am in a relationship with her online. It feels so silly to be so concerned about what everyone else thinks and feels about my life, but is is something I fight so hard. I wish that I could just scream it from the top of a mountain because that is how amazing I feel with her - but I let my fear hold me back. I wonder if it will ever get easier to just genuinely be who I am and not be scared to live my best life - no matter what anyone else thinks. It is hard to leave a long term relationship with a man and everyone tell you that you are just rebounding and don't really feel the things you think you do because she is female. She's my person and I am so incredibly happy, but why am I still scared to just be bold and put it all out there?
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