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Out October: “I Guess I’ll Be Coming Out For A While.”

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Today’s Out October Project story comes from Greg Mitchell, who originally wrote this story for “I’m From Driftwood.” Greg’s story reveals a life of uncertainty in the face of perceived rejection.

Make sure to catch up on all the other coming out stories here.

“Nah, I can’t be g*y…I just have to find the right woman…yeah, that’s it…”

If you say it to yourself enough times, you’ll believe it.

Too afraid to face my truth for fear that God would hate me, and too afraid to face the few friends that I worked hard to have, silence was my only option.

At 16, two strands of life were developing for me: a personal one, and a professional one.  Personally, I felt different than every other 16 year-old I knew. I wasn’t interested in the same things that I saw other 16 year-old kids were into: sports, cars and girls; I was into music and boys. My interest in music was rooted in the construction and production of music, more so than the composition of it. I wanted to be a recording engineer, and I wanted to be on the radio. As far as my interest in boys, I constantly dismissed the feelings I had and delved further into my music, because all of the gay boys I saw were effeminate. I was attracted to some of the boys I had befriended who were finding their masculinity, but it seemed wrong to try and be with them.

Professionally, I wanted to make a career of my personal interests. As I moved from 16 on up to 19 and started going to college, my interest in Rap music was starting to get stronger.  I was able to separate my interest in men from my interest in music, until a male Rap star graced the television screen.  Further, the culture of Rap is very homophobic.  Even as I type this, I as a self-professed gay man am still not ready to hear an openly “Gay Rapper”.  I certainly want no part of a gay Rap movement either, because my sexuality isn’t the first thing I want people to know about me.  Rap was always entertainment to me.  I don’t really believe the stories that rappers tell in their songs, I just applaud their ability to tell lies very well.  The types of things that the male Rap stars I adored rapped about were how they found other women attractive and what they wanted to do with them.  As weird as it sounds, in Rap, I could fully accept men talking about women in ways that I can’t accept hearing about other men.  I mean, they were lying anyway, right?

Having hid behind my music and first career choice all through my 20’s, aside from one unsuccessful experience at an after-hours club at 27, I had never been with a woman.  I got more feelings from seeing male physical features and I wasn’t attracted to women at all.  I felt like I could be their friends, but sexually I just wasn’t interested. I had heard rumors of other gay men who had been with women to help them figure themselves out, but I was too afraid to get women involved in my mess of a life.  Being uncomfortable with the main act that most gay men do didn’t help me either, but I couldn’t get past that idea of actually being with a man.  I had also never been involved with a man because I was too afraid of being caught by someone I knew.  If I was out and about on a date, what if some friend or family member saw me? What would they think?

In an attempt to understand myself, to find someone to be with and to deal with the increasing loneliness and desire to have someone in my life romantically, in 2007, I started to explore my sexuality by asking questions of other homosexuals.  I had debates electronically with these people letting them know that I wasn’t afraid of them, yet, afraid to admit that I was one of them.  The debate topics ranged from gay adoption to my disagreement with the word “homophobia”.  Of course, I was defensive and relying on twisted logic to justify my homophobic thoughts, but I saw no fault in it at that time.  Still working on Rap music, I released my first album in 2008 at the age of 33.  I began the next step in exploring my sexuality by starting one-on one online communication with another gay man who had shown some interest in me.  After my experience with this man, I started reading, listening and watching materials that dealt with homosexual issues.  The movie “Milk”, the documentary on the life of Harvey Milk, “For The Bible Tells Me So”, and the podcasts and columns of Dan Savage are all things that changed my life and perspective.  For the first time in my life, I was seeing gays who lived past the sexual aspect.  I believe that God put these things in my path to show me that I wasn’t alone.  I talked to God about it through prayer.  I expressed the desires of my heart.  At that point, I had started to distance myself from regular church service because I was feeling disconnected from it for different reasons, but I still had a strong connection to God through the help of my pastor who always taught that knowing God “is about relationship – not religion”.  I was okay with that, but I still felt unresolved in my sexuality, and I had questions: Why did the experience I had feel right if gay is wrong? Why don’t I feel this way about a woman?

The year 2009 became a year that I will never forget.  After all the years of living a double life online, fearing that the two worlds would clash horribly if anyone from one world met people from the other, I finally began my process of coming out.  First, I came out to the one female friend I had in college that I saw myself possibly being with when I denied my sexuality, then I came out to my mother and sister.  From there, I slowly started having that conversation with the close friends that I had made within the past 10-15 years. Surprisingly, all of them accepted me.  Slowly, I gained the courage to come out to more people. As I continued slowly coming out to my friends, 2010 approached.  I moved to Chicago to finish school, and I started attempting to date and meet more men.  I submitted a draft of this paper to the website “I’m From Driftwood” in an effort to slowly come out some more, and I showed the piece to other homosexuals that I had previously argued online with about sexuality, while attempting to atone for the horrible things I had said to them.  On October 11th, 2010, I officially came out online to the 200+ people that I had befriended on Facebook.  Aside from that, I have still resolved to continue to be private about my sexuality, but if asked, I won’t lie about it, so I guess I’ll be “coming out” for a while.  There are still some of my family members who don’t know, but in accordance with living what I believe is my truth, I will risk losing those relationships if this topic comes up and they disagree with who I am. I feel closer to God because I’m living my truth now.

If there’s a moral to this story, it’s this: truth always rises to the surface.  Fighting it may delay it, but it will eventually rise.  We all have truths that we refuse to deal with in our lives, but accepting them is how the bruises in our lives begin to heal.

Editor’s Note: Back in July, contributor to The New Civil Rights Movement, J. Rudy Flesher, wrote for this blog, “I’m From Driftwood,” a review of the project. It’s a good read, with some excellent videos!

Remember, there are always options.
The Trevor Project: a 24-hour hotline for gay and questioning youth: 866-4-U-TREVOR (488-7386)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)


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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

ABC Host Pops Marco Rubio’s Balloon Rant: It ‘Happened Three Times’ Under Trump

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ABC host Jonathan Karl reminded Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) that former President Donald Trump had failed to notify Americans on at least three occasions when Chinese balloons entered the country’s airspace.

During an interview on ABC, Karl asked Rubio if President Joe Biden should have gone against the advice of the U.S. military and instead shot the balloon down over populated land.

Rubio agreed that the debris could have “hurt, harmed or killed people.”

“If that was the case, then I think it really would have been helpful for the president of the United States to get on national television and explain to the American people, this is what we’re dealing with, this is what I’m going to do about it, and this is why I haven’t done it yet. None of that happened. And I don’t know why. I don’t know why they waited so long to tell people about this.”

But Karl pointed out that Trump had failed to disclose similar incidents at least three times.

“This happened three times under the previous president,” the host said. “Obviously, there were no public notifications there.”

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Watch the ABC video below or at this link.

 

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Burn Bags and Use of Personal Email: Justices’ Security Practices Even Worse Than Leak Investigation Showed

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Supreme Court employees raised security concerns that were not made public when an internal investigation was completed following the leak of a draft opinion reversing abortion rights.

Multiple sources familiar with the court’s operations told CNN that justices often used personal email accounts for sensitive communications, employees used printers that didn’t produce logs and “burn bags” to collect sensitive materials for destruction were often left open and unattended in hallways.

“This has been going on for years,” one former employee said.

Some justices were slow to adopt email technology — they were “not masters of information security protocol,” according to one source — and court employees were afraid to confront them over the security risks.

Supreme Court marshal Gail Curley in her investigative report noted that printer logs intended to track document production were insufficient, but a former employee said employees who had VPN access could print documents from any computer, and remote work during COVID-19 shutdowns and otherwise meant draft opinions could have been taken from the building in violation of court guidelines.

Curley’s report noted that court methods for destroying sensitive documents should be improved, but three employees said striped burn bags supplied to chambers were often left sitting out unattended, and each justice had their own protocols for disposing of court documents.

A source familiar with court security practices said some colleagues stapled burn bags shut, while others filled them to capacity and left them near their desks, and others simply left them sitting in hallways where anyone with access to non-public areas could have taken sensitive materials.

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Ethics Complaint Against Sinema Urges Investigation Into Staffers’ Duties and Her Possible ‘Abuse of Taxpayer Dollars’

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If you are hired to work in Senator Kyrsten Sinema‘s office on Capitol Hill there is a 37-page memo you’ll want to read detailing all the responsibilities her staffers are required to perform, from getting her groceries, calling Verizon and going to her D.C. home to wait for a repair person if the internet goes out, scheduling massages, and ensuring her very detailed airplane requirements are met.

“It is your job to make her as comfortable as possible on each flight,” the memo says, as The Daily Beast first reported in December.

But now a group of 13 non-profit organizations have joined to file an ethics complaint against Senator Sinema (I-AZ), a new Daily Beast report reveals Friday, including details from that 37-page memo which the newly-independent lawmaker directed to be drawn up. Dated Thursday, the complaint is titled: “Letter to Senate Ethics Committee Regarding Reports of Sinema Abusing Taxpayer Dollars.”

“Senate Ethics guidelines stipulate that staff should not be asked to perform personal errands for members. This is an unambiguous ethical boundary,” the group’s complaint reads.

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It also points to that 37-page memo, which it says, “indicates that staff are required, as a condition of their jobs, to carry out numerous tasks that are outside the scope of public employment, including doing personal errands for the Senator, carrying out household tasks at her private residence, and advancing their own funds for her personal purchases. It makes unreasonably precise scheduling demands, and former staff have confirmed some of the allegations.”

The allegations continue.

“And, most troubling, it calls on staff members, who are employed and paid by the public and explicitly barred from campaign activity, to schedule and facilitate political fundraisers and meetings with campaign donors, presumably during the workday while they are on the clock and physically on federal property.”

“Senate staff are prohibited under your guidelines from engaging in political activity ‘on Senate time, using Senate equipment or facilities.’ While you have not prohibited campaign activity outside work hours, the plain language of the memo clearly implies that Sen. Sinema expects her staff to carry out these scheduling tasks during the workday. And these tasks may separately violate Senate Rule 41.1, which explicitly prohibits Senate employees from ‘solicit[ing]’ campaign funds.”

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The complaint also alleges that “Sen. Sinema required her staff to schedule three physical therapy and massage sessions a week related to her training for athletic competitions, and to tightly manage her dietary schedule — while allotting only a 30-minute period on Wednesdays for meetings with the constituents she represents.”

The carefully-worded complaint adds, “the allegations paint a picture of a Senator who is not only unresponsive to her constituents, but also disrespectful and even abusive to her employees and wholly unconcerned about her obligations under the law.”

The Daily Beast has posted a copy of the complaint here.

You can read The Beast’s full report here.

 

 

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