Anthony’s relationship with his family was complicated — not so much by my being gay, but by other issues.
He coins himself as lucky that he lived in a major city with a gay community he was aware of. In high school, he was able to connect with others in the community.
However, it was not without its challenges.
“We did not have the kind of visibility and support that many young people have today,” he said. In some respects, I was lucky to have an older sibling that came out before me.”
He always knew that he liked the same gender. However, the feeling of knowing you are different from everyone around you with an unaccepting society was hard. Anthony had a phase in his life where he “hid” himself for fear of discovery, being in an area of the city that was “more blue-collar and less progressive.”
Luckily, Anthony had a sibling that came out before him around 13 years old. Their parents always knew so it was not a big surprise, he said. Once he did come out when he was 15, they told him not to yet.
“I think it may have been harder for them but we never discussed it,” Anthony explained. “I also don’t know how my mother took it when [my sibling] came out — she was not as accepting as she would become with me, and they had a very complicated relationship besides that.”
Despite this, Anthony said he is very luck to have not experienced blatant discrimination or harassment for being gay.
For those who are not safe or ready to come out, Anthony said that no matter what, you exist and you are valid.
“Even if you are not able to come out to your family or your community, there are resources available and people to talk to that can support you in your journey. You are not alone.
“Everyone’s journey is unique and your personal wellbeing and safety are always the most important,” he continued. “Do what is right for you when you are ready.”
And with this, he added that labels aren’t entirely what defines someone; they are simply just a part of who you are as a greater whole.
“We live in a time when it is both easier and harder to be our true selves. But when you feel you are struggling, look to our LGBTQ history and all of those who have come before us and made where we are today possible.”