My Name is Brendan Davidson…
I am from Duxbury, MA (Pepperell, MA)
I identify as Gay/Homosexual
I came out my Junior Year of High School
I Am A Queer Peer.
I came out to a small group of my close male friends.
I chose them first because I knew they were true friends of mine; and although I was a little nervous because they were straight, I hoped they wouldn’t see me differently after hearing it. They laughed a little when I told them because I was a little too wordy, but our friendship never changed after that. If anything, we got closer and we still remain close friends today.
I often use this as my main coming out story.
I knew my mom would be ok with the news, but it didn’t make telling her any easier. I had planned on telling her once we got home from shopping at the super market, but I was so visibly nervous about telling her that before going in with her, she asked me what was wrong. I told her that we should wait till we got home, but she wouldn’t let us leave until we talked. I said “Mom, I think I’m gay.” She was a little shocked at first, but then said, “Well alright. Let’s go shopping.” I was still nervous about what she was thinking, but when she offered me a bushel of bananas in the super market with a grin on her face, I knew she was fine with it. She ended up helping me tell my siblings and step dad as well which really made me feel safer in the house.
The most challenging part of coming out
Is being asked to defend the fact that I’m gay. As I mentioned above, I’m not a very flamboyant man and take pride in my masculinity. But since I don’t fit into the “flamboyant gay male” stereotype, people often react in shock when I tell them that I am gay. Most of them think I’m joking and disbelieve it, saying things like “Dude, there’s no way you’re gay” or “How are you gay?” and continue to ask these questions even after I’ve “defended” my sexuality. These questions personally affect me, because I don’t see my sexuality as a top definer of my personality, but to other people it is. In these cases, I’ve found that not only answering them honestly, but getting them to also think about how they themselves think about their own sexuality really helps them understand my situation.
Coming out gave me more confidence than I give it credit
It taught me how to look at myself and own not just my sexuality, but my sense of self and personality as well, regardless of what other people believed. Coming out also taught me how often people can surprise you, more often in a good way than bad. The few negative experiences I’ve had while coming out were far outweighed by the positive ones, even from people I believed would never be accepting of the news. All in all though, I think coming out taught me how to just be myself and be comfortable in my own skin.
Bates is accepting of homosexuality, but not fully understanding of what that means.
There is a very prevalent mindset of heteronormitivity (the expectation that a person is heterosexual until proven or suspected otherwise) and conversations about sexuality are rarely heard in commons. It’s very rare to see homosexual couples or transgender individuals around campus, and negative phrases such as “that’s so gay”, “no homo”, or “fag” can often be heard casually across campus. However, I don’t believe that there is open hostility at the school, but rather an avoidance of the topic in general student conversation. But, when it does come up in personal conversations, I am often asked stereotypical questions or just curiosities that the speaker hasn’t heard before, such as “I don’t really want to know specifics, but how does it (sex) work?” In general, the lack of a thriving or active homosexual culture on campus hasn’t affected my studies in anyway, but has made it a little isolating due to the lack of understanding of homosexuality.
The best piece of advice I can offer to questioning/queer students is to talk about it with a trusted peer. The one thing about coming out that was so surprising to me was how free I felt after I told someone I was gay. Although not every encounter turned out well, the fact that I had friends who supported me – even ones who flat out surprised me – really made me feel safe and confident in my sense of identity. We all come from different walks of life, but if you are honest with yourself and give people the chance, you’ll be surprised at what you’ll discover.