It was on a trip to London with some of my close friends from school. Just us drama kids in England for a week. When we first arrived we met our tour guide, Christian, who I right off the bat knew was gay. He introduced himself and started telling us a little bit of what he had planned for the group for the next couple of days.
It wasn’t until 2 or 3 days into the trip that I started talking to Christian more. I didn’t bring a ton of extra money on the trip and wanted to save the most I could for shopping. So needless to say, I wasn’t going out for expensive lunches everyday with the rest of the group, although Christian would always offer to take me to different places to grab a quick and cheap bite to eat. Afterwards we would just talk for a little bit while the rest of the group was finishing lunch a couple blocks away.
To be honest, I’m pretty sure Christian knew I was gay and that was why he would help me out by spotting me with change when I needed it, or even a lunch one day. Anyway, throughout the trip and over the course of our daily lunch talks, Christian told me his whole coming out story, something I was very interested in at the time. By the time we left I was actually ready to finally tell Christian I was gay, but couldn’t seem to muster up the courage (not that he would have judged, but it was just something I couldn’t do).
I missed what I felt was a great opportunity to come out, and in doing so forced myself even deeper into the closet. I spent most of that summer forcing myself to go out with girls in an effort to seem straight. It wasn’t until going to a Kathy Griffin show months later with my dad’s friend, his partner and another friend that I finally came out to someone.
Although I might not have told Christian I was gay at that point, I finally was able to reach out to him again and thank him for his support over the trip (even if he felt as if he hadn’t done anything). I’m very happy with where I am today, and everything that I do to support the gay community, and I feel privileged to have received all of this support during my process of coming out.
I’m From Salt Lake City, UT. “The summer after my senior year of high school, I traveled to Europe for a last hoorah before college. I was 17 and a world away from Salt Lake City, the hometown that I had grown to hate desperately. Finally, I was getting a taste of what life would be like without the gaze of my parents’ eyes. For the first time in my life I felt like I could be myself. I was on a one-month pan-European voyage. That I chose to spend that newfound independence on a nonstop European pub-crawl was beside the point. I was finally my own man. Being my own man, not having to answer to anyone allowed me to answer, for the first time, questions about myself.”
I’m From Springville, UT. “Cory, however, stood out to me. We sat next to each other in class and helped each other with coursework. His sense of humor, thrift-store style and willingness to serve in the Church won him a unique spot in my heart. Cory moved. A few months later we met for lunch in Salt Lake City. After lunch we hung around the well-manicured parks surrounding the Mormon temple. In the distance a man played the bagpipes as we walked and talked. My admiration grew. That afternoon I decided Cory was my hero. He made me want to be a better person. I wanted to be like him in so many ways. Cory was my kind of guy.”
I’m From Elgin, TX. “At first I was afraid; I didn’t speak Italian, I wasn’t Catholic, and I had never been to Europe before. I went alone for two months, my only companions a backpack and a wad of Euros, ready for a change. I never, ever imagined my time in Italy to be so personally rewarding. I will spare you the fine details of my entire trip, but I want to focus on my time in Rome. There I was eager to check out the gay scene because I had never interacted with gay Italians before. To sum it up, I had a blast in the Roman gay community. Luckily my host in Rome was gay and vegetarian, and he showed me to all the good eateries and hangouts and introduced me to many people I’ll never forget.”