Do not conceal your inner self

Andrew Paisley

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About nine years ago, I discovered my true sexuality.

Most people will find this shocking, as a lot of people seemed to know I was gay long before I even knew.

The truth is, it took having a sexual experience with a male to discover that I was really gay.

It took about six months or so before I finally decided that this is what I was, it was not a choice that I made but that I had to choose whether to accept it and live as the person that I am or conceal this aspect of myself for the rest of my life.

I made the right decision, and I came out in June 2011, shortly after my 16th birthday.

I am not going to lie, it was somewhat difficult.

My parents, siblings, grandparents and friends were all extremely supportive. I went back to school that fall and I did not have any trouble with anyone bullying me or giving me a hard time.

I did have a lot of trouble with distant family  members who said my sexuality was an embarrassment to them and it somehow “affected” them.

Over the years, I have had a few choice words for those nasty, hypocritcal individuals who I once considered family. Obviously, I can’t share those words in this column.

My point in sharing my story is to tell everyone that it is truly OK to accept who you are and come out with your sexuality.

Trust me, I have been there and I know the scary feeling that some of you have. It is not an easy thing to do, but it is courageous and commendable.

By no means am I saying that anyone is required to come out of the closet, but I assure you that you will have a sense of relief and finally feel free, a sense of freedom that you have never felt before.

You may have people, just like I did, who will criticize you for coming out and say that you chose your sexuality.

Remember that the only choice in the matter is choosing to accept your sexuality and being open about it.

People tend to think that we choose this, but the truth is that we do not. I believe that we are born the way we are, and that sometimes it takes time and experience for us to discover and realize it.

Not everyone will agree with you on this, but that is their opinion.

I have gotten to the point where I know in my life who I am, and if people are judgmental, I have to remember that it is not their business what my sexuality is.

I promise that in the end, it will truly be worth it. It may not seem like it in the beginning or even right now, and as I said there will be times that you may face scrutiny, but being able to live as the human being that you truly are is such a great opportunity.

Be who you are and do not hide forever. As they say in today’s world, you only live once.

 

Andrew Paisley is a senior journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]