I just published my first book: “Sam’s Story.” The book shows the struggle of growing up gay but it is much more than that. Aren’t you tired of hearing the sad stories about being gay? Sam’s Story is the possibility of love for the gay community. The kind of love the helps you better understand yourself. The kind of love that is not just about sex. The kind of love that we all want in our 20s.
My Coming Out: It was the spring of 2006 and one of my close friends Lark asked me to go to the high school senior prom. I immediately said “Yes!” It wasn’t until later that day I realized she wanted to go to prom with me. I am gay. It was at this point I realized it was time for me to come out. A few days later I found myself standing in the basement as my mom was practicing piano. “I’m gay,” I said quite bluntly. It was a shock for her certainly but she was absolutely loving and supportive. In fact, all of my family and friends were supportive as the word spread. Within a year of coming out I met my first boyfriend, Krystian. For four years we enjoyed a deeply loving relationship full of beautiful memories and lots of laughs. This is what is like to be a gay youth in the 21st century. Surprised? We are so used to hearing the story about the gay teen that was rejected by his family or even worse— he committed suicide. This is an unfortunate truth and we have the best organizations working on it. One of my favorites is The Trevor Project where I am donating 10% of my book profits. There is a new story emerging that needs to be told. Focusing our efforts on telling a new story of the healthy gay man will create a context for the next generation of gay youth to live into.
Social Constructs: Why will telling a new story help? A social construct is something that is generally agreed upon. Human beings agree on things through language thus a social construct is created by language. The story that is being told (using language) can impact reality by becoming a social construct. When we look back to Ancient Greece a great example is provided. In Athens, homosexuality was a normal and an integral part of how their society functioned. A male Athenian citizen would take on a younger man, the former being the erastís and the latter being the eranamus. The erastís would be responsible for the eranamus’ formal education including being a scholar, gymnast, artist and warrior. He would also teach the young man to be a lover. This was not a scene out of the baths but a way of forging a bond so he could be a role model. This may not be the ideal way to express homosexuality but this shows that throughout time the social constructs around homosexuality have changed. How do they change? They change by storytelling, by language, and by agreement.
Looking on the Bright Side: Currently, the social construct around homosexuality has a few different aspects. Some of the major tones are ideas like: not acceptable, acceptable, a struggle, teasing, bullying, and suicide. It is different depending on where you are living in the country. Generally, it is something like a shell or wall over the gay populations head. Something to break through and something that constantly puts up resistance. We have demonstrated in the streets and in the courts. We have started to break that wall down. We are at a point where we must begin to also tell the positive story of being gay. This is what will make that wall (social construct) disappear for future generations. It may not be gone by the time we are gone but we must think bigger than our lifetime. We must be bigger than our own lives and live to strive for the whole of humanity to thrive. So when you talk to the youth and when you share yourself as a gay man support them in their struggle. But really, really stress the marvelous life and joy it is to be a gay man. They will take that and run with it. This goes for our world as well. In the west, we are very lucky and many gay men around the world do not have the opportunity we have. It makes it even more important for us to tell this story.
Sam’s Story: Sam’s Story is my way of telling my story. Sharing my life, my love, and my struggle. It shows not only love on a surface level but love that is deep and transformative. I believe when you meet a soul mate they help you grow into a better version of yourself. They help you transform old attitudes and past experiences that no longer benefit you. They also bring this love out of you that you have never seen before, a love you can cherish and share. If you are interested in supporting this movement towards a more positive future for gay men grab a copy of Sam’s Story. It could be for yourself or a loved one. 10% of profits are going to The Trevor Project to help gay teens. Pass on the love and tell the good story.
All the Love in my Clumsy Heart