Lakeland Unknown: Matt


Realizing I was gay was one the hardest points in my life, butit’seven harder to tell someone else you are gay. You feel like you areanoutcast, a burden on yourself just because of your sexual orientation. You always think to yourself, Well maybeI’mnot. Maybe I just think that one guy is good looking. Maybeit’sjust thatI’mgoing throughpuberty. Maybe the right girl will come by and all these thoughts will slip out of my head. Maybe this, maybe thatuntilthere are no more maybes. You don’t know how to deal with thethoughtof being an outcast until you realize there are others like you with the samesexuality.You start researchingandstumbleupon comingoutstorieson YouTube and how people found out they were gay. You find people with the same thoughts and maybes you had and realize that being gayisn’ta sin likeyourreligion might preach. Instead, itssalvationfor you. You can finally be yourselfand notcare about what others might think because you have acommunityto back you up.The next part is even harder, telling yourlovedones that you are gay. You never really can guess what their reactions are going to be until you tell them. It’s hard because some people might shun you out whereas others, hopefully, will embrace you for who you truly areNever beafraidof who you are or what you’re thinking, embrace your true self and go for it. I knowifsomeonehad given me that advice soonerit would have helped me greatly. 

My own realization was hard because I was bulliedsinceelementaryschool. It didn’t just end atschool, it brought itself home with me also. My brothers and parents would tease me for actingflamboyantand liking things that were girly.It really wasn’t until my junior year ofhigh schoolthat I figuredout for myself I was gay. I was in denial for the longest time, just thinking to myself that maybe it was all in my head and I’m not actually gay. No matter what, Iwanted tobe married and be able to have a family.When I started my own research and found out I could doallthose things with a manthe more I was sure with myself that I was gay. The next step was the hardest, telling my parents. Ittookmeforeverto tell my parents, a whole year in fact. It wasn’t until I was at the point of suicide that I was finally able to tell them. Maybe if they knew I was gay, they would stopdiscriminatingagainstthe LGBTQ+and making me feel worthless. It tookthe longest time for me to gain the courage to tell them that the people they talk shit about is one of their own childrenAfter I told them, ittook a long time for them toacceptme fully. The worst part is they made me promise not to tell mybrothers because they feared I would corrupt them or make them feel shitty in life. Not once did my parents think to help support me and tell me everything was going to be okay. They just told me “Okay,” and lectured me on the wrongs of the world and how I could get hurt by just stating those two words: I’m gay. Those two words were the only words that really saved me from taking my own life. After my senior yearended,I told my brothers and posted onInstagram to show the whole world who I am. Mybrotherswere way better than my parents, accepting me in every way possible.My parents eventually came around, especially my mom and then my dad. Sure, I lost some friends, but I realized the friends I lost were not really my friends to begin with.Sosure,there wasn’t a lot of beauty in my story but the one thing I gained through that wholeexperienceis that I can be whoever I want in this world. And I am gay.