Ryan | 23 | Bernie, Missouri, USA
For National Coming Out Day in 2012 Ryan wrote the following Facebook post. Although he had come out two years previously he felt that he wanted to share his experience with his friends to offer them support and inspiration. He very kindly does the same here by sharing his story once more with us.
January 25th 2009 is a day that I'll always remember. That evening, I was laying in my bed, listening to music and thinking. I always knew that I was different from my brother and my guy friends. I never really enjoyed the same things that they did but there was one major difference - I was attracted to guys. Although this was a very 'normal' feeling for me, I was so scared to tell anyone.
"I was afraid of what would happen to me and what my family would think of me. I couldn't deal with the thought of my parents disowning me. I never really knew their views on homosexuality, so I couldn't make myself tell them face to face."
At the time, I was dating a guy and I knew everyone would find out sooner or later. I didn't want to have to hide anything. After thinking for a while, I decided to just write a letter to explain how I felt. After I wrote the letter I asked a friend if I could stay the night with her. When she got to my house to pick me up, I left the letter in between the door...I knew my parents would see it in the morning.
I couldn't do anything that night but think and stress. I didn't sleep at all. When the sun came up, I wanted to go home and take the letter before they found it. It was too late for that though. That morning I received two text messages. One from my Dad that said, "I love you no matter what son", and another from my mom, "I love you, where are you?". Those messages meant so much to me. I started tearing up & just felt so much relief. It was overwhelming. What was at one time the worst feeling ever, suddenly became the best. I was still loved and accepted. I was finally "allowed" to be myself. I made this status because today is National Coming Out Day. Not many people know my story, so I decided to share a part of it. I usually wouldn't post something so personal, but I want people to know that its okay to be different.
"You don't have to be who others want you to be, just be yourself. If you're going through this, there will be people who disagree with you. You may even lose a friend or two...but no matter what the outcome, I can promise you that love will always prevail."