From then on for the rest of my days here, I’ve lived open, proud out. My relationship with my mom and both of my parents really has very much vastly improved.
I’m Trevor McCray and I’m from Baltimore, Maryland.
In my family, there’s a rule – I don’t know about yours – but it’s an unspoken rule that family business stays within the family. And if there’s anything about you that the family needs to know, they should be finding out about it from you.
It was my senior year of high school. I was 17 years old at an all boys Catholic high school, which as you can imagine for queer people sounds like torture. But for me, it wasn’t. I was actually really well-known. I was really, I guess you could call me popular, I wouldn’t say that about myself. I was known as The Voice of the Mount, one of three students to do the morning announcements every day. And I was well known because I started with GOOD MORNING! every day.
So we went on a retreat our senior year. It was about March, just a few months before graduation, and the whole class went all at one time to this house out 45 minutes or so outside of Baltimore in the country, it was a time of bonding and of building and cementing our brotherhood. It was really amazing. They culminated the experience with everyone going around the room and first apologizing. So there was a lot of apologies to go around. So we had a clean slate. And then afterwards, we went back around the room and everyone started to give thanks and talk about what we were grateful for and what we appreciated about our experience those last four years together.
So it got to my turn and I did not plan this at all. I did not premeditate what I was going to say. I said to the group, “Thanks so much for being cool with it.” I didn’t say the word gay, I said the word it. And everybody got it. The queer people in the class afterwards, they all hugged me and said, thanks for being willing to do that. And even the Jocks who I had great relationships with and never had an issue with dapped me up and said, That was cool.
So on the bus ride home, I was reflecting over the retreat and the time that we all spent together, how excited I was for us to get back and get ready for graduation and figure out where we were going to college and everything. And I realized I completely broke the rule of family business. I told my friends about me being gay before I even told my own family.
Later that night feeling… I don’t know. I don’t know if I was feeling guilty, but I was definitely uncomfortable. I called my mom from downstairs. I told her to come up to my room. It was pitch black. I had no TV on, no lights on, no cell phones out. We laid on my bed and I could tell that she knew something was going on. I started to tell her about the retreat and the day that I had, and me thanking everybody. I told her that I thanked them for being cool with it. And then I elaborated for her. It was the fact that I’m gay.
She said to me, “I love you, but I can’t help being disappointed.” So she was disappointed, yes, not because I had told people ahead of time, which definitely made me feel better. But just the bare fact that I was gay, meaning I guess to her, her only baby might not be having babies. I can understand and empathize with her position, but I also knew myself at the time and know myself now. And I really didn’t care. What mattered was that she told me she loved me because I knew that was the most important part. And I knew that whatever her disappointments may be, she would live with them because I wasn’t going to be changing.
From then on for the rest of my days here, I’ve lived open, proud out. My relationship with my mom and both of my parents really has very much vastly improved. We are closer than ever, even though we’re further apart in distance than we ever have been. I have been able to introduce my mom to one of my partners in the past. I am so openly queer that my dad drove me by a bar called Beefcakes a couple of weeks ago in South Africa. He knew I would love it.
So since that moment, I have never referred to my queerness as “it.” I don’t hide in the dark. I will not allow darkness to creep over my life, and I definitely will not push the person that I love or the people that I love into the dark, the way that I had to do or felt like I had to do when I was a teenager.