I’m From West Palm Beach, FL.

by Kevin Casteel

State Satellite overhead image from Google Earth 2022

There is no wrong way for an individual to come out of the closet and it should be done on the individual’s own time.

An individual should not be outed or forced to come out; they will come out when they know the time is right. As most people know, I am an openly gay individual and am proud of who I am. I attended Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, VA, and was taught that homosexuality was basically wrong in many of my religion as well as sex-education classes. I was surely confused about who I was but knew in my heart that I was homosexual.

Due to the fact that I didn’t want to come out to anyone, I tried to stay to myself and didn’t have many friends because of it. After I graduated from that school, I came out on Facebook and Myspace. I came to realize that many of my classmates did support me and I would have been much happier if I had been open with them as well as with myself. During the summer in between high school and college, my family and I traveled to Ft. Lauderdale, FL, for vacation. It was there that I came out to my family and it was definitely a scary thing to do. However, my parents were fine with it and told me that they would love me no matter what. Sure, from time to time we do have our ups and downs, but I have great support from friends who are always there for me when I need them.

In college, I came out as bisexual at first but then realized that I didn’t want college to become like high school, so soon I came out as openly gay. I joined the Equality Alliance club at my college and met some awesome people who identified themselves as GLBT like me. My best friend and I become President and Vice President of our Equality Alliance club and our main goal was to make our campus more of a GLBT friendly place. We got support from a lot of our faculty members; however, we rarely had any student participation at our events. It didn’t matter to us though because we still had a core group of members who always helped us get our message across to the campus. We hosted everything from National Coming Out Day events to movie night to guest speakers to Day of Silence events in April. Our main goal was to make the campus aware of what was going on, even if they did not want to participate in these events. Being openly gay though, unfortunately, sometimes comes with a price.

There were a few times on campus where people would spit on my door or yell offensive things. Most of the time when these things happened, I wanted to sit in the corner and cry. Instead, I used these times to my advantage by educating the campus community about homophobia and diversity. Since I was a writer for the campus newspaper, I wrote articles on these issues hoping that it would inspire some people and for others, change their homophobic ways.

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