For as long as I can remember, I’ve known that I was gay. Growing up in a conservative Christian family that was very active in the Church, this fact was a constant struggle, something I fought tirelessly and endlessly to disguise. I dated girls occasionally, but never for any extended period of time or with any legitimate interest on my part. Instead, it was simply one component of the elaborate facade I built to “protect” myself and hide my secret.
Growing up in an environment where homosexuality was regularly derided as sinful, as a sure path to damnation, the question of whether or not to keep on living was ever-present. The misery that hiding, that being the unwitting target of jokes and ridicule, that lying to everyone around me brought with it was often so overwhelming that suicide seemed the only solution. If I couldn’t be happy with something I had no choice of being in the first place, what was the point in continuing on?