You helped inspire me to come out to my family.
I’ve never been happier.
My boyfriend’s pretty happy, too. That’s him on the left.
My family love me.
As I grew up they would tell me they loved me and I would tell them I loved them but a time came when I started feeling things that seemed at first hard, then scary to share. I was ashamed of being different, of being difficult to understand, and so I started to lie about who I was in a thousand tiny ways. I genuinely believed they only loved the parts of me that looked right, so I doubted the unconditionality of their love and worked hard to look like someone “worth loving”. Most of the time, though, I didn’t feel worth loving at all. My parents saw how much pain that caused me and they felt the pain right along with me, only ever able to guess its source. I am still learning how much this hurt them. I started exhibiting symptoms of clinical depression when I was about 17. I still attend counseling sessions, and they help a lot.
I met my boyfriend when I was still feeling stuck and angry at the things that made me different. The more I spent time with him, the more I wanted to be curious like he was, to question what I believed, and to explore a life without fear.
Some people can inspire bravery just by choosing to be real. He’s one of those people. I am more courageous for knowing him and more grateful for him every day. Our relationship isn’t perfect because we’re not perfect. He’s not my everything and I’m not his everything but we are committed to doing what we can to support each other every day. I cook, and he does the dishes.
We started dating in July after knowing each other for a year. Dan is my first boyfriend.
I came out to my family December 1, 2014. They are very proud of me and I can finally trust that. They like him a lot, too.
These last few months Dan and I have watched the videos that you and Mark have posted. They helped me a lot; it’s one thing to tell someone that It Gets Better but you two are really good at showing how much better it can get. Thanks for that.
Thank you for helping inspire bravery in others.
Dan & Dan
I’m glad that I submitted my story, which is now our story. I am still here because someone shared their story with me and invited me to ask them more about it; I am extending that same invitation now.
…And no, I’m not displaced in time: it should read “Dec. 1, 2013” not