Be Unapologetically You

Be Unapologetically You

Be Unapologetically You

I invite you to be unapologetically you!

I was raised in a deeply religious household, immersed in the teachings of Christianity. From a young age, I was heavily involved in the church, attending services three times a week, winning preaching competitions, and even receiving scholarships to Bob Jones University.

However, when I finally found the courage to come out, it was not without its challenges.

Just a couple of weeks before that pivotal moment, I found myself dropping off my cousin, who was also gay but still in the closet, after a night out at the club. Unexpectedly, my 85-year-old Mamaw uttered words that took me by surprise. She said, “That boy can’t help it; he is gay.”

Her acceptance in that moment was a glimmer of hope, but the road ahead was still arduous. My mother gave me the painful “going to hell” speech and even disowned me for a month when she learned about my involvement in a drag show from a distant cousin I had never met before. Little did they know, I couldn’t have won the competition due to age restrictions, and my boyfriend and landlord were judges.

It was only when my other grandmother gifted me the “Pray the Gay Away” package for Christmas that my mother’s heart began to soften.

Now, we can have open conversations about almost anything. My mother eventually moved in with me and my ex-partner, and their bond was incredible, providing much-needed comfort after our breakup.

While I don’t anticipate my mother joining PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) anytime soon, she has become incredibly supportive of my nieces, who are proudly part of the LGBTQ+ community.

Sometimes, it takes time for people to comprehend and embrace your true self. However, this doesn’t mean you should dilute your essence for the sake of others’ comfort.

I am immensely grateful that my life unfolded in this manner. I have witnessed countless individuals whose journeys didn’t lead to the same acceptance. In the end, though, I made a firm decision not to compromise who I am in order to appease others. Of course, this doesn’t mean I barged into my mother’s house brandishing rainbows and flamboyance. There is a way to approach difficult conversations with tact. Nevertheless, I refused to play the pronoun game, I didn’t shy away from the challenging discussions, and I stood unwavering in the life I was destined to lead, even when faced with adversity.

Now, I ask you: Where in your life are you allowing other people’s expectations to dictate your path? Remember, true fulfillment comes from embracing your authentic self and forging your own unique journey.

 

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