I’m From Mullan, ID.

by Steven Pool

State Satellite overhead image from Google Earth 2022

Knowing my father had already gone through one son coming out of the closet should have put me at ease but it didn’t; if anything it made me more nervous. I knew the day that I would have no choice but to tell my parents was going to eventually come but I didn’t want it to. If I could have lived my entire life in the closet I would have at the time; but I know I would have missed out on the things I have today if I did that. At the time I had no support system and nowhere to go but I took the risk anyway…it just had to be done.

I came home from school and decided to use a shock factor and see how that would work on my mom since my dad was at work. Without even thinking of what would happen, I walked through the front door and just hollered out “Hey Mom, I’m home and gay. I’ll be upstairs.” All I got for a reaction was “Okay son, I’ll call you down for breakfast.” That single response shocked me beyond belief, she acted like it was nothing…then I heard the end of the reply. “I think you need to tell your father when he gets home.” Right then and there, my heart sank. I knew about my half brother and also knew that he wasn’t really talked about in my family and I was scared that would happen to me. I sat upstairs and thought things through. I knew if I didn’t say something my mom would, she’s always been like that.

It was a few hours later when I heard his truck pull up in the driveway and I decided I’d play sick…hopefully my mom would have forgotten what I said until I heard them outside the front door. “Your son needs to talk to you” were her words. My heart sank and I began to cry. Within a few minutes he knocked on my bedroom door before coming in. I instantly began to beg for forgiveness. “What did you do that’s so wrong?” I clearly remember those words. Then it slipped. “I’m gay” was all I had to say before he got a smile on his face. “I think you should talk to Rich and get some advice, you’re going to need it for the rest of your life.” He said before pulling me into a hug. I cried into his shoulder and never felt more accepted before in my life.

Fast forward 8 months. I had come out at school and was bullied without end and had on one occasion almost been raped. I had transferred schools and had in a sense run from my problems back to my friends in the lower area of the valley. I told them and they all accepted me and I had finally found friends who cared for me and not what I was but much rather who I was. The feeling of liberation was something else and while my family was Southern Baptist, I felt like I could make do in my religion and rely on the support of my friends…but that never happened.

A few months later, while sitting in church, the pastor went on another one of his “Those who have sinned” rants. I knew he was going to touch on homosexuality since he always did that in these, what I didn’t expect was to be singled out. Pointing a finger directly at me he uttered those words I hate to hear to this day…”Among us sits an abomination to the Lord, someone whose very existence is a sin.” Shortly after that I left the church and went on a path with no guidance. While religion in my family is important, it doesn’t matter which one you go with. After dating a few guys, I met one that asked me if I would be interested in going to service with him. I was scared at first but figured it was worth a try again. When we arrived at the temple, I realized he was Buddhist. Upon walking in, a Monk walked up to us and asked who I was. He told them I was his boyfriend and the Monk smiled. “Very well, I’m glad you found someone to be happy with.” Were his only words before continuing on with his duties. Within a month I was entered into the temple and have been Buddhist for nearly 2 years now.

Sharing your story can change someone's life. Interested in learning more?