Coming Out as a Gay Bro
In 2002, I had just turned 20 years old, come out to my parents, moved to San Francisco, and was as naïve as a little puppy dog. Like many people in a new situation, I immediately felt the need to fit in to my new surroundings. I was pretty comfortable in my “straight skin” but had just received my gay card in the mail and was terrified! Reading the information on the back of the card, I found that there were three categories that I could most relate to out of several types:
Hmm, well, I was young and liked to party, so maybe I could be a twink. But I needed to lose 20 pounds to hit the weight requirement. On the other hand, although I was already hairy enough, I wasn’t big enough to be a bear. And at the time, I HATED my hair. I really wanted to be a muscle jock, but that’s a lot of damn work. Ain’t nobody got time for that! I wished I could be a combination of all three of these types, but the card said I could be only one. So after carefully weighing my options, I settled on becoming a twink. Through the miracle of Ephedra, I dropped the weight, bought skintight jeans, and wore snug sleeveless shirts out at clubs. Still able to twerk it, I might add. I played this role for about a year, but I was never happy being this way. I just wanted so desperately to fit in with a crowd.
A year later, I met my first REAL boyfriend. New relationships are just like the beginning of college – the “Freshmen 15” is inevitable. So crap, I was no longer a twink! But my boyfriend was fine with that, and we were happy. It didn’t matter that I didn’t fit into any category because we had each other.
In the fall of 2009 we took a trip to Hawaii. On our first night there, we went to the one gay bar on the Big Island. When we drove up and saw that it was in a strip mall that was connected to a 7-Eleven, we were ecstatic; an epic story was bound to come out of this evening. We sat down at the bar next to another couple and introduced ourselves. They ended up being from San Francisco, but they didn’t fit the description of anyone on the gay card. These boys seemed too straight to be gay. They wore hats with sports-team logos, beer T-shirts, and jeans that weren’t painted on. I was utterly confused, but at the same time, I instantly saw something in them that felt familiar (take your minds out of the gutter!). These guys were bros! They didn’t need to have all the bells and whistles to prove their gayness; they were just guys who liked other guys and had great confidence about themselves. Crazy concept, right? Meeting them made me realize that I was a closeted bro who needed to work on my coming-out strategy. I wasn’t ready to come out just yet, but a few rounds of shots and Facebook exchanges, and I had a couple of new best friends.
A few months after our trip, things ended with my ex. Things got real ugly. I’ll spare you the telenovela that followed, but I ended up winning my two new besties in the divorce. I finally saw what it meant to have gay male friends as true friends who were not just trying to sleep with me.
But I was suddenly single for the first time since being 21, and I felt more lost than when I moved to SF. I ended up moving to Sausalito to live on my own (you know, the gay mecca of the Bay Area), so it wasn’t like I could just jump back into single life in the city. Insecure and vulnerable, I once again felt the need to figure out what “group” I belonged to. It was time to do a little soul searching and start opening that bro closet door. At this point, I was older, had Beyoncé thickness, and finally embraced it, and I had added two new gay besties to my entourage. Even though I was getting more comfortable in my own skin, that stupid gay card still haunted me.
In 2010, I was introduced to another gay bro. The first thing we talked about was bubblegum-flavored vodka and Showgirls – it was fate! He was quickly added to my friend group, and we became the Fantastic Four – two of us single, two a couple. A perfect balance.
Hanging out with these guys opened up the options of who I realized I can be. I can be myself. We all openly like sports; embrace Madonna, Billy Joel, and Metallica; can throw down with whiskey and beer better than anyone at the Tipsy Pig in the Marina; can quote all of Drop Dead Gorgeous and Showgirls. We’re dudes, and we like other dudes. We are true RainBros to the core, but unlike other groups, everyone and anyone is welcome to be one. We don’t have rules, unless you hate Showgirls; then, it’s on!
I’m not sure why or when my aha moment happened, but my friends showed me a different side to the whole gay scene and myself. I don’t think they changed me, but they opened my eyes and gave me a confidence that allowed me to bring positive energy into my life. I am now living with my boyfriend of almost two years, and honestly, I couldn’t be happier. My boys and my partner truly helped me find my happy. I am now the man I want to be.
Recently, I found my gay card in an old pair of my “twink” jeans. I took a quick glance at it and then quickly ripped it up into a million pieces, throwing it off my balcony like the old lady in Titanic tossing her necklace into the ocean.
Feeling proud of who you are and what you've become in San Francisco? Come celebrate Pride (and San Francisco's 237th birthday) with us on Friday, June 28, at our Big Gay Birthday!
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