Hey, so my name is Grey. I grew up in Florida.
I grew up in a church and in a family that was very conservative Christianity wise. They’re also Caribbean. There’s also the Black culture, and so overall, not very accepting of queerness, but I definitely have always felt like queer inclinations. And I was even homophobic, I will say. As friends would start coming out throughout puberty and stuff like that, I would talk to them and be like, “Hey, this is not real” or “Are you just trying something because you know this is not okay.”
When I moved up here to Philadelphia, I was in a worship team at this church. I met this girl and immediately was drawn to her. I was like, wow, she’s so cool and so edgy, and I really want to know everything about her and ask her all the questions. So I started having those feelings toward her just thinking that she was cute or whatever. But all the while, not at all leaning into them, I’d gotten to the point where I was like, All right, people have queer thoughts. It’s fine, just don’t act on them.
We actually became good friends because I texted her while I was in distress one day. Around that time, I was going through a lot of depression so I texted her and I was like, “Hey, I know we haven’t really had deep conversations like this before, but you seem like a trustworthy person to talk to you. Can I just tell you some things that I’ve been going through?”
She was immediately like, “Yeah, what’s up?” And I literally just spilled everything to her, not any of the queer stuff, but just I feel like I’m doing everything right, I’m waking up and reading the Bible and meditating and praying, and I was like, I’m still not… I’m so sad.
And she was just so receptive throughout the whole thing. She was just like, “Yeah, that sucks.” And we talked for a long time, and at the end of the conversation she said, “Yeah, I mean, you can talk to me anytime.”
And I was like, “All right, sure.”
And she was like, “No, I’m serious.”
And I was like, “Well, if I can text you anytime, I’m going to text you at five o’clock in the morning when I wake up and I’m already depressed.”
And she was like, “All right.” Like clockwork the next morning, five o’clock, the depression hits. I text her and she’s like, “Hey, what’s up?” I was like, Wow. She really does mean anytime. And from that point, we were just texting, texting, texting nonstop. And it got to a point where I was like, Wow, I feel extremely connected to this person and this person is cute. And I’m like, all right, I will admit that I have a crush on her.
So yeah, me, the crush and our friend had a sleepover at my apartment, and for some reason we started talking about kind of queer related things. So I think they were talking about Pride, and I said, “What do you think about Pride?”
And my crush was like, “What do you mean?”
And I said, “Isn’t it not okay?”
And our friend was like, “What do you mean not okay? It seems so much fun.”
And I said, “No, but because it’s gay people, and we should not be celebrating that.”
And my crush was like, “That doesn’t make any sense. I don’t care.”
I did end up telling our friend the day after the sleepover that I had a crush on my crush. And the friend said, “Oh, you should just tell her. It’s not that big of a deal.”
And I said, “Okay.”
A week after the sleepover, I texted her and I said, “Hey, I have something to tell you.”
And she said, “Yeah, what’s up?”
And I said, “So I have a crush on you.”
And she was like, “Okay.”
And I was like, “Is that weird? Do you want me to give you space? Is it awkward?”
She was like, “No, why would it be?” And we just continued talking as friends and as very connected friends.
A month after I told her that I had a crush on her, I flew back to Florida just to visit my family. One night I was texting her from Florida and I said, “So I think I’m in love with you.”
And she said, “I feel the same way.”
And I was like, “No, no, no.” Because now it’s scary, because now it’s a real thing.
Three days later, I came back from Florida. She picked me up from the airport, and once she got to my apartment, I said, “Hey, do you want to come up?”
And she was like, “Yeah, sure.” And we were just talking and hanging out, and it just felt really great to be back in each other’s presence. As she was going to leave, we turned to have a hug, and we ended up hugging for three hours. And then we said goodbye, which was still very hard, still hard after saying goodbye for three hours in a hug.
But then very quickly, the religious upbringing, indoctrination, programming kicked in. It felt clear to me that it’s like, all right, I either live a life that I was taught to live and be super duper depressed the whole time, but then maybe die and be happy, or I just can’t live it all. And I literally walked like 20 or so blocks down to a bridge. I did end up calling a friend while I was up there and was able to process some things through. All the while this woman I love was texting me and trying to call me throughout. I did eventually answer her phone call and she talked me down even more.
So after that, I walked home. As I was processing what had very seriously almost happened throughout that next week, I kind of just started this mantra of I’m just doing my best and jumping from this point of I’m just doing what makes me feel like I don’t want to die. So for me, that meant trying to find community to survive with.
Honestly, I just looked up on Instagram, queer faith, or queer Christians or queer spirituality. I came across some queer Christian pages where they were preaching and queer pastors who were preaching. So it kind of got to this place where I was like, all right, it seems to me that no one has the answer. So once again, I’m going to do what makes me feel like I don’t want to die. And so that meant leaning into the queer theology.
I'm going to do what makes me feel like I don't want to die.
So that led me to finding community online, then finding community in person, and then coming to a place where I can accept and be proud of who I am. And that has brought me to where I am today.
So I did eventually come out to my parents. It went about as expected. I’ve had top surgery. I’ve come to accept myself more, even just gender-wise. That person I love, like we are definitely together now, and it’s been a couple years. We have a dog, we have two cats. We plan to move in together next year. Falling in Love was the catalyst for accepting who I am. That’s inseparable from accepting myself, from coming out to myself, from even simultaneously falling in love with myself. It was definitely a rough journey, but I have to say it was worth it.