Author: Jimmy Biascan
No matter how much I tried to deny it, I eventually came to the realization that I am gay. I’d really known for as long as I can remember, but hoped that it would magically go away or fix itself. I now understand that I wasn’t broken. I was merely at a crossroad in my life, similar to that faced by countless other people.
When I was in my grade school years, I remember lying in bed at night, not able to sleep, clenching the sheets over my head, asking myself, “Why me? Why did this have to happen to ME?!” I felt that if my terrible secret got out, it would hurt all of the important people in my life. So, I played a part. I played a part of someone I was supposed to be. Someone who was NOT me. There is nothing more damaging to your soul than “living” life pretending to be someone else.
I was lost in a dark void that seemed to get bigger, darker, and more empty – every lonely day. I thought I was all alone. In all of my despair and naiveté I had no idea there were so many people, just like me, but not exactly like me, who shared this pain. It was that damned closet. I stepped out. I now know life can be so much brighter.
My sisters were the ones who helped me over my threshold. I was close to them and they knew that I was gay, although I didn’t know that they knew. I thought I had everyone fooled, because the man I lived with was my “room mate.” They had me over for dinner one night. After dessert, they just flat out asked, “are you gay?.” I was so shocked and blindsided by their question that I couldn’t help but confess the truth. For the first time, I heard myself say out loud to someone else, “I am gay.” I felt scared, yet liberated.
From that point on, I knew life would change in a major way. I had to tell my parents. When the time was right, I did. My mom cried and tried to deny it for a week. Eventually, (probably from some coaching from my sisters) she came around. She told me, “You are my son, and I will always love you no matter what. I just want you to be happy.”
With my dad, I thought our conversation would go one of two ways. Either he’d blow his top and exile me from his life, OR he’d just say, “Okay.” In hindsight, I was silly to think he’d react any differently than the latter. He said to me, “You are my son, and I will always love you no matter what. I just want you to be happy.”
I truly am one of the lucky ones to have had such a supportive and unconditionally loving family to help me through one of the most difficult times in my life.
That’s how simple everyone’s coming out story should be. Unfortunately, it’s not. There’s a full gamut of conditions that determined the outcome of a coming out. What IS consistent in everyone’s coming out story is that they rise above fear and doubt. When the time is right to share, they’ll know. One simply won’t know what the reactions of the people in their life are until they are told.
Luckily, there are plenty of resources to help people out of the dark, over the threshold, and into the light. I suggest checking out the It Gets Better Project online. Watch some of the videos. They are inspiring, make me smile, and make me cry.
Since coming out, I’ve lost some people and found new people. The important ones – the ones who really mattered – stuck around. I’ve discovered a whole new gay world that I never knew existed. I’ve had romance and heartache; new life and lives ended. There have been ups and downs just like anyone’s roller coaster through life. Still, I am so glad I won’t wake up one day, still closeted in my fifties, to realize that I’ve lived someone else’s life and can’t get my years back.
I share my story as much as I can. Some people will love me and some people will hate me. Gay, straight, whatever – most really won’t give a damn. People choose how honest to be with the world and that is their right. I don’t shove it down anyone’s throat or introduce myself to people like, “Hi. I’m Jimmy. I’m gay.” That said, I sure as hell don’t hide it either.
I am so proud to be a gay man, and I wouldn’t have come to this point in my life if I hadn’t unfurled from the fetal position, stood up, and jumped over that closet’s threshold. I have been caught by the wide support net that is our gay community. It’s why we call ourselves “family.”