I come from a small suburb known for being Catholic and Irish. I then went onto a University that is known for the same and very closeted. I was a leader in my community and in my school and it scared me to be successful and gay. I did not know anyone successful and gay, and growing up all that I knew was the lives of those coming out were getting ruined in my eyes. It is today, 6 years after graduating high school, that I realize things are so different than the eyes I looked out of then.
I respect those that came out to close friends and tried to find an identity in themselves. I waited until my early twenties which is not too late, but I of course wish I had taken the burden off then. Those that came out have jobs and are living independently and successfully today.
I chose to move across the country, from north to south. In the south I felt more at home with the food, music and weather. I was nervous about my sexuality coming out to my coworkers, but when it did, they were receptive. I came out in the bible belt and I was a good worker and made a positive change in others lives. I was commended on my optimistic and good attitude and that was influential in people accepting me for who I am and not who I sleep with.
You are you, but you also represent the larger population when you are a minority. I was able to prove to a small prejudiced town in Tennessee that not all gays act feminine and that being gay does not inhibit work or fun. I moved back to Minnesota with that renewed confidence and shared with my family and my friends who I am. Part of sharing who I am with them was sharing my successes, my long-term relationships, and being the person they had always known and loved.
The moral of my story is that you should be you. You should take risks and sometimes removing yourself from a situation can leverage you to face the fears that you may have. Being gay doesn’t mean you have to act feminine or become a waiter; sometimes you have to work harder as people will judge you, but that hard work will eventually cast you beyond all others and as success is found, who you sleep with and where you went to school all falls behind into history.