I’ve always been a singer and eventually my parents had the idea that they should transfer me out of my public school and into the school that my mother works at, which is a private arts high school and they offered a music major. So I auditioned and I got in and I ended up transferring there halfway through my junior year of high school, so I was 16 at the time and I had just gotten my license.
So I started school there and I eventually met my first boyfriend. And that was also the first time and only time I ever fell in love. One night I was in my room at home, it was very late at night and I was on the phone with Chris, my boyfriend at the time, and we were talking about sexual, sexually-related things, and she burst in and said, “Who are you talking to?!”
And the look on her eyes was like nothing I’d ever really seen before from her. It was a combination of fear, terror, and I just remember saying, “No one, just a friend.”
And she said, “I heard what you were talking about and I just want to know if you’re gay.”
And I said, “I don’t know.”
I don’t recall exactly how the rest of the night went, but she closed the door and I just remember knowing that it would never be okay. It did come as a bit of a shock to hear her really react so negatively when she heard me talking to a guy in that kind of way.
Eventually I got accepted and went to McGill University where I studied Voice. Eventually at the end of October on Halloween of 2011 I went into my best friend’s room who lived with me at the time and I was crying and I said, “Mike, I really have to talk to you, I have to talk to someone.”
And I just told him, “I don’t know what’s going on with me but I know I haven’t been myself, but I just have to tell you that there’s no way that I’m straight. I haven’t fully figured it out but I’m afraid.”
He wasn’t a super emotional guy but he just started crying and he said, “Mason, I don’t care that you’re gay. That doesn’t change our relationship, that doesn’t change who you are, you’re still you and I just want you to be able to love and respect yourself the way that everyone else does.”
So with that I started to, I started to get my, my confidence started to come back and I started to get rebuilt and I started to very slowly tell friend by friend the same story I told Mike and the amount of love and support that I received from them was just what really got me through it. A few months after that, we’re now in December of 2011, Christmas, I went home for Christmas break and I was in the car with my dad who had just picked me up from the train station and I said, “I’ve done a lot of soul searching and I just want you to know that I’m gay and it’s not been easy for me given how Mom has handled the situation in the past and, but I’m sick of living in the shadows and I’m sick of lying to you and sick of lying to myself and this is who I am.”
And he was actually really cool about it, he was like, “Wow, well we had had our speculations but it’s nice to get some confirmation and we still love you and we still want to work through it.”
So that was the easy part but then telling my mom was the harder part.
When I told her I said, “You know…I’ve done a lot of thinking and I’ve realized that I’m gay and I know it’s not what you want but it is what it is, this is all that I am and that I don’t know what else to tell you.”
She did a lot of crying, a lot of throwing things across the room, and saying things like, “Why would God give me a gay son?” And she spent the next year very confused, very angry.
She was just in such a bad place and she eventually reached out to her siblings which was a really big step for her because I think she was too embarrassed to tell anyone about me, about what was going on, and she sat down with her siblings and said, “Mason told me that he’s gay and I don’t know what I’m going to do about it. I don’t know how to deal with it.”
And they reassured her and said, “You know, your son has done everything right up to this point. He has an education, he’s hardworking, he’s kind, he, people that he comes encounter with really enjoy his presence, he hasn’t been in trouble with the law, he doesn’t do drugs, there’s a lot of things that he’s done right, and this might be an obstacle but this isn’t the end of the world, this is just something you’re going to have to accept.”
So that’s the night she called me and she was in tears and she said, “Mason, I know that it hasn’t been easy between us the last year or so but I want you to know that I’m trying really hard to accept you and I understand that I’ve made this about me and I realize that this is all about you and your life and your happiness. And I’m willing to work through that because I do love you.”
After my mom gave me that call and told me that she was willing to work on our relationship and work on acceptance, that really gave me the last boost of confidence I needed to start owning myself and owning everything that I was because I think every kid at the end of the day wants to please their parents. But what’s interesting, what I learned about my mother, is at the end of the day, she’s just a person and she has her own values and beliefs and I unintentionally went against those values and beliefs that she had been so set on her entire life. And I think at the end of the day, my coming out really started to transition her into a new point in her life where she was able to become a more accepting and loving person.
My advice to anyone going through something similar would be to give them time. And in the meantime, while it might be hard and a little bit awkward around your parents or whoever it might be, find people that do love you and do respect you and find things that you love to do and get really, really good at them and build your own confidence because at the end of the day, you’re going to go to bed with your own thoughts and your own feelings and your parents are going to do the same, and if they love you they’ll come around.