Writer Brenden Shucart posted this beautiful reflection on Facebook yesterday in honor or National Coming Out Day.
I was always different. Different from my brothers & cousins. Different from the boys at school. It wasn’t that I preferred reading books and telling stories to playing sports, or that cried as easily as I laughed (and did both often). But those things were part of it.The older I got the more my difference seemed to matter—the more uncomfortable it made people, the more it set me apart—and so I learned to hide the qualities people found objectionable.
It’s not so hard; pretending to be someone else, becoming what people expect you to be.
You do it long enough and you forget that you’re doing it.
You pretend long enough and you forget who you are.
And I think maybe I could have gone that way forever…
Except that a guy kissed me, in the men’s room at the homecoming dance while our girlfriends waited outside
And for the first time I realized that I wasn’t alone.
That I didn’t have to be alone.
I still didn’t know who I was. But coming out was the first step in finding out who I really am, and ultimately learning that I’m *lucky* to be different.
We’re lucky to be different.
The qualities that set us apart from our cousins and classmates are gifts, and they can provide access to experiences and perspectives most of the straight kids will never know, a freedom most of them will never taste.
A truly remarkable life.
And the first step toward that life is finding the courage to come out.
Writer Brenden Shucart lives in San Francisco.