Last week we ran a terrific first-person storyby Jeremy, a 17-year-old high school football player in the Bible Belt whose dad is a fundamentalist preacher. Since then, he has received hundreds of supportive emails, including from politicians and other athletes. He is coming out to more and more people each week and chronicles his journey on his blog “Standing Up Speaking Now.” He has also added his voice to the “It Gets Better Project” (video below).
Jeremy’s dad has been preaching against homosexuality since Jeremy can remember and the teen is fearful of what will happen should his parents discover he is gay. With him coming out to more people, I asked him how he felt he could keep this news from his parents for very long. He addressed this in a post that shows a young man who is finding the courage to be who he is and is ready for any consequences:
For the past 17 years of my life, I’ve been gay. While I didn’t understand it a younger age, I never saw anything wrong with it. My dad has been a preacher since I was 3 years old, and he has always condemned homosexuality. Accordingly, it’s probably not shocking that my father and I have never been close. Especially when I finally started realizing I was gay. Having said that, my dad and I have a tendency to argue and disagree, and my family and I are not close. They say they love me, and I have no reason not to believe they don’t, except how they constantly talk about the evils of being gay. I know they won’t accept it… Trust me when I say I know my family.
Because of this, you’re probably wondering why I’m risking everything I know and sharing my story. I don’t understand myself sometimes, but I have reached the point where I don’t necessarily care if they find out. It kinda scares me, I’m not gonna lie… I don’t know if they’ll kick me out, what they’ll say, or even what they’d do, but I just want to be me. If my story comes across their computer, so be it. If they find out, I’ll face it like a man. I don’t want to be miserable and face my family with a lie. I want to be happy, reach out, and see how things fall.