Sunday, October 17, 2010

It was ten years ago that I came out.  I'm not sure if my particular story is unusual, but what I recall most about the time is overarching joy and a sense of freedom I had not known.  

After telling my very best friend, I waited many more months until I told my parents.  I knew my friends would love me, not a doubt in my mind.  But the part people don't understand is this: While I was quite certain my parents loved me, I was only 99.9% sure; that's enough in nearly every imaginable situation, but the 0.1% chance that they'd look at me differently, or that they'd decide not to love me, was too much risk.  The little knob in the brain that controls doubt would pulse and the mere idea that they'd blame each other (or themselves) or that their marriage would collapse or that it would just. ruin. everything. was debilitating.  

And this is what keeps kids from saying it out loud: The snowball's chance in hell that everything will evaporate.  And, for an agonizing time, it's just not worth it.  No matter how miniscule the risk, it's there.  Gnawing.  A couple of words could literally change everything.

I left my parents a note before slinking out of their house and back to my college-home-away-from-home.  Obviously writing things down is my go-to-method, so this seemed easiest: it would allow me to tell them without seeing their faces, and would allow them the opportunity to make any face they may have no control over. In my letter I asked them to call and leave a voicemail, just so I could hear their voices, maybe get a sense of how they were feeling.  I can still conjure my Mom's voice (stunned, blindsided, had she been crying?) saying they'd gotten it.

She said they loved me very much.  And I had nothing to worry about.  And everything would be okay.

And in a those few, spare words, I knew it would be.  I didn't cry, but rather breathed fully for the first time in years.  It was over.  I finally was what I had always been.  On the record.  For real.

People refer to weights being lifted, but for me, at last, I sunk down into myself with all of my weight.  I became heavier.  I took root that day in October, ten years ago.


  1. Jason this moved me. You are an amazing writer and I just wish every teen, or anyone, thinking about coming out would read this. It's beautiful.

  2. When I opened this this morning...I cried. This is very moving, raw, inspirational and honest. Reading this gives me chills. I too, wish that anyone thinking of coming out would read this. Jason, you are an inspiration to so many-we love you and are so happy for you and Jeff. You are so talented-Keep writing! We love you guys so much!
    xoxoxo Leann, Darren and Delila

  3. i had to come back to read this again. i love the fact that you acknowledge and say what is often not said. that your parents might not have been able to control their facial reaction is something that made me...take pause. because i think sometimes ppl forget that as open-minded as some people are...sometimes you just can't control your initial reaction to things - though you mean no harm. and that it's that 0.1%, those few words, that could change everything. i can't say i totally relate to this specific situation...but i can totally relate to that feeling of those few small words, whatever they may be, changing IS a weight...and once it's lifted - you do become more of yourself, don't you?

    really great post jason--do you mind if i share a link to this post on my blog?

  4. Beautiful. These are such powerful, honest and moving words. Thank you for sharing this. I know we've never met, but I can tell through your words you have such a beautiful heart.

    Happy day :)

  5. Thank you for sharing this so openly and beautifully. I'm so glad it turned out this way for you.

  6. Amazing - so glad you had the courage to come out. I hope someday this isn't even an issue. That we continue to evolve and treat everyone the same regardless of sexual prefrence.

  7. Reading this today on the day to remember those young teens that have committed suicide because of gay hate was enough to bring me to tears. Thank you for saying this for all of those who could not.

  8. I just wanted to thank you for this post. I came out to my mom 11 years ago, and I did it by writing her a letter because I was scared to see the look of rejection on her face. I thank God every day that she did not reject me. She stated that she loves me just as much now as she did when I was born.
    Some don't understand the courage that it takes to come out, but it really does! Thanks for your story!