I’m From Petersburg, Virginia.

by T.C.

Satellite overhead image of Virginia from Google Earth 2022

I first realized I was gay in the 9th grade in high school, but chose to subdue my feelings for fears of what my parents may have done. You see my parents are not only super conservative, but also devout Christians. To make matters worse, my father was a huge athlete in high school and is known by everyone in the area for his athletic prowess.

Keeping those things in mind, I decided to explore my feelings once I went away to college. However while in college I still lived a double life which, over time, became quite taxing. Luckily an out was just around the corner (no pun intended).

Summer school had just started and as usual the campus was completely void of life, but I eventually met up with some people in class. As mandated by the professor, we wrote some personal information about ourselves on index cards and placed them in a “group pile”. However the professor had a cruel twist in mind once we filled out the cards.

Most students in the class thought the cards were for her to get to know us as our professor, but we were dead wrong. Out of nowhere she collected the cards and passed them back out, but to different people. That’s when I saw a guy beside me start to stress out.

Being the nice guy that I am, I tried prying to see what was getting him down when someone started reading a card. “I play basketball, used to blog for the Wall Street Journal, was in the military, and I’m gay.” The class fell silent. No one knew what to say and no one wanted to start the “witch hunt”, so we stayed silent until the guy eventually spoke up. I felt so bad for him, but didn’t want to say anything during class. Time went on and soon we were leaving our exam review. I knew I wanted to come out, but didn’t know how I would go about doing it. So I devised a plan.

When I got back to my dorm, I looked up the guy on the classroom roster and sent him an e-mail. The e-mail explained my predicament, asked for his help and concluded with all of my contact information. No more than ten minutes after I sent the e-mail, he called me and we agreed to meet Wednesday at a campus bar after the final exam. Surprised at how genuine he was, I agreed yet had trouble sleeping, anxiously waiting for the meet-up.

Wednesday came and we both sat in class waiting for the exam to begin. He glanced at me several times and I could tell he wanted to say something, but held off. Three hours later I finished my exam and sat outside of class waiting for him. Through the window I saw him stand up and take his test booklet to the proctor. The time was now at hand. We walked out of the building together and across campus to the bar in complete silence. The cat didn’t just have my tongue; he ran off and pawned it for cash. I mean, that’s how I felt. I had absolutely nothing to say, which made me feel really bad. However that would all change once we got to the bar.

After a few drinks I loosened up and was amazed at how comfortable I was talking about guys with him. He was so open about everything, which in turn made me open up more through reciprocity. Hell I didn’t care who was in earshot as I went on about which frat guys I was crushing on and the best looking basketball players. This went on for a few hours until we were sober again and ready to part ways. Not wanting the night to end I kept the conversation going out the doors of the bar to the parking garage, but I knew I had to let him go. But before we parted ways, he asked me to go to a Virginia Pride event the upcoming weekend and I nervously agreed. Little did I know that the decisions I made that night would ultimately have me completely out of the closet by summer’s end. Most importantly we are still great friends and I will forever be thankful to him for getting me through my first milestone.

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