By Branden Lee

 

 

I came out of the closet when I was 15. I came out to my parents and most family members when I was 16. This year marked the 11-year anniversary of me coming out to my parents. My boyfriend just came out to his parents days ago.

 

I’ve always understood that coming out is different for everyone. We’re all on different timetables of getting comfortable with ourselves, the gay community, and figuring out ourselves and our sexualities. I don’t judge others for not being out and proud.

 

My boyfriend is a year younger than me, but I understand why it’s taken him longer to come out. He’s African. Gays are killed in Africa. He lives in the south. I’m a Northerner. The North is known for being more liberal, more open-minded, and more accepting. Atlanta is a gay hub. It’s basically the NYC of the south, where all the gays in surrounding states flock to Atlanta to live their most out and proud lives.

 

Yet, since I’ve moved to Atlanta, it reminds me a lot of my hometown in the North. I expected that since I was moving to a city, I wouldn’t have to deal with so many DL gays that still lived at home with their families or roommates they weren’t out to, yet so many guys I’ve encountered in Atlanta are in the same situation. They’re not out of the closet, can’t host because who they live with has no idea they have sex with men and aren’t fully out.

 

I do think a major reason why it took me so long to have my first relationship is that I always fell for guys that aren’t out and aren’t comfortable with their sexualities. I always fell for the DL, closeted, confused, guys with girlfriends, etc. Probably because I’m a fem bottom and I’ve been brainwashed to chase after masculinity. What’s more masculine than a bi-curious guy with a girlfriend? Yet these guys that don’t know what they want and don’t know anything about the gay world aren’t exactly relationship material. I’m out and proud, I know who I am, and I know what I want. Ending up with guys that have no idea what they want and are new to same-sex exploration only leaves me lonely and constantly dumped by guys that are still figuring themselves out.

 

I am thankful I was a teen in the 2000s. There were so many gay TV shows and movies to watch which helped me get comfortable with myself, see how much queer diversity there is in the world, and come to terms with my sexuality. I got to grow up watching Will & Grace, Queer As Folk, The L Word, and Noah’s Arc. Shows were showing me gays living in major cities, out and proud, dating, hooking up, having careers, and giving me something to look forward to as I got older and for when I escaped my hometown in suburban Pennsylvania.

 

Even now that I’m out and proud for many years, living in a major city, and finally have my first boyfriend, my boyfriend still is a baby gay. My boyfriend has been hooking up with guys longer than I have and has had more boyfriends than myself, yet actually integrating himself into the gay world is still new to him.

 

Maybe I do like getting with guys that are new to exploring their sexualities and coming to terms with themselves because I know so much, and I like to impart that wisdom. I’ve always liked helping others come out, discover gay things, and learn more about the gay world.

 

In theory, I should find someone that’s been out and proud for as long as I have. That knows who they are, and what they want. Someone that isn’t new to being gay, who is out to their family, and someone who’s home I can actually be welcomed in because everyone they live with knows and accepts their sexuality.

 

I guess that’s just not my type. I always like to fall for the ones that are figuring themselves out, and I get to help them along in their journey into the gay abyss.

Branden Lee is a writer, actor, and blogger, Follow Branden on Instagram and Twitter @Brandeness.

By Branden Lee

 

 

I came out of the closet when I was 15. I came out to my parents and most family members when I was 16. This year marked the 11-year anniversary of me coming out to my parents. My boyfriend just came out to his parents days ago.

 

I’ve always understood that coming out is different for everyone. We’re all on different timetables of getting comfortable with ourselves, the gay community, and figuring out ourselves and our sexualities. I don’t judge others for not being out and proud.

 

My boyfriend is a year younger than me, but I understand why it’s taken him longer to come out. He’s African. Gays are killed in Africa. He lives in the south. I’m a Northerner. The North is known for being more liberal, more open-minded, and more accepting. Atlanta is a gay hub. It’s basically the NYC of the south, where all the gays in surrounding states flock to Atlanta to live their most out and proud lives.

 

Yet, since I’ve moved to Atlanta, it reminds me a lot of my hometown in the North. I expected that since I was moving to a city, I wouldn’t have to deal with so many DL gays that still lived at home with their families or roommates they weren’t out to, yet so many guys I’ve encountered in Atlanta are in the same situation. They’re not out of the closet, can’t host because who they live with has no idea they have sex with men and aren’t fully out.

 

I do think a major reason why it took me so long to have my first relationship is that I always fell for guys that aren’t out and aren’t comfortable with their sexualities. I always fell for the DL, closeted, confused, guys with girlfriends, etc. Probably because I’m a fem bottom and I’ve been brainwashed to chase after masculinity. What’s more masculine than a bi-curious guy with a girlfriend? Yet these guys that don’t know what they want and don’t know anything about the gay world aren’t exactly relationship material. I’m out and proud, I know who I am, and I know what I want. Ending up with guys that have no idea what they want and are new to same-sex exploration only leaves me lonely and constantly dumped by guys that are still figuring themselves out.

 

I am thankful I was a teen in the 2000s. There were so many gay TV shows and movies to watch which helped me get comfortable with myself, see how much queer diversity there is in the world, and come to terms with my sexuality. I got to grow up watching Will & Grace, Queer As Folk, The L Word, and Noah’s Arc. Shows were showing me gays living in major cities, out and proud, dating, hooking up, having careers, and giving me something to look forward to as I got older and for when I escaped my hometown in suburban Pennsylvania.

 

Even now that I’m out and proud for many years, living in a major city, and finally have my first boyfriend, my boyfriend still is a baby gay. My boyfriend has been hooking up with guys longer than I have and has had more boyfriends than myself, yet actually integrating himself into the gay world is still new to him.

 

Maybe I do like getting with guys that are new to exploring their sexualities and coming to terms with themselves because I know so much, and I like to impart that wisdom. I’ve always liked helping others come out, discover gay things, and learn more about the gay world.

 

In theory, I should find someone that’s been out and proud for as long as I have. That knows who they are, and what they want. Someone that isn’t new to being gay, who is out to their family, and someone who’s home I can actually be welcomed in because everyone they live with knows and accepts their sexuality.

 

I guess that’s just not my type. I always like to fall for the ones that are figuring themselves out, and I get to help them along in their journey into the gay abyss.

Branden Lee is a writer, actor, and blogger, Follow Branden on Instagram and Twitter @Brandeness.

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