Oct. 11 is National Coming Out Day. For many LGBTQ+ people, coming out involves sharing their sexual orientation and/or gender identity for the first time. Young people in search of support in their identities can contact The Trevor Project’s TrevorLifeline 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386 or by texting START to 678678.
Dear young Steve,
Steve O. As your friends call you.
You were the original Steve O.
You’re going to be upset with your father for a very long time.
You will never forget the day when he threw you out of the house, when you finally confirmed his suspicions and told him that you are, indeed, gay.
You will never forget him asking you if you were planning to change your name.
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- Oct 07, 2020
And you will certainly never forget the sting you felt when he took the painting of you off the living room wall, and broke it against your car as you sped away that early morning.
The pain that streamed down your face on the drive back to school will be something that always sticks with you.
But Steve, as hard as it is, you’ll need to try to forgive the man.
Neither of your parents will be here long.
Try and remember that he and your mother were from another country, where they have no real word in their language for the word "snow." And certainly no word for "gay."
Their only understanding of what it meant to be gay were stories they heard of Europeans inviting Black boys to Nigerian hotels.
Unfortunately, many Africans and many people of African descent around the world would like to think that being gay is something "that only white people do."
'To parents reading this ... make sure that your love is one thing they never forget.'
I’m encouraging you, Steve, to figure something out much earlier: that you are strong, that life will not be such a struggle forever, that your heart and your words are your superpowers, and that you deserve respect -- both from straight Black people and gay white people.
You will find that the friends you leaned on during those difficult times will be as close to you as any family.
Those names will mean a great deal, even when you haven’t spoken with them in years.
Steve, you’re going to find true love.
And one day you’re going to bring him home.
And you’re going to be concerned, because in your mind, the race of your husband is going to remind your family about the stories from those African hotels.
But your parents are going to surprise you.
They’re going to come around.
All of your family is going to come around.
To parents reading this, it’s challenging enough being a Black man in America.
Adding "gay" to the list wasn’t something I chose.
No matter what, always show love to your children.
They need it even when you think they’re wrong.
You want to always be the family that your child turns to for help, comfort and encouragement.
Make sure that your love is one thing they never forget.