by Henry Walling, Elon University staff

When asked to write for this blog I was really excited to do so. I was able to tell my tale of being an ally and supporter for the LGBT community here like I was during undergrad and graduate school. As I kept coming back to what I wrote and reworking what I have already done, I realized something. What I had been writing didn’t seem right and seemed almost forced or copy-n-pasted from some other ally’s story. What I had written was genuine and sincere but it just seemed wrong. Not that I was writing the piece, just my perspective on it. This led me to delaying the submission multiple times until I got it right. After months of rewriting I realized why it seemed wrong, it was obvious but not right away. The answer was that it was a LIE. Not a lie to who was going to read it but a lie to myself. I told myself its time…I am not an ally…I am huge supporter of the LGBT community…but I am approaching this with the wrong letter in mind…I am gay so why am I not telling my story. I wasn’t telling my story because I still haven’t told anyone that I was. So I decided to change that…

I recently moved to North Carolina from Ohio and everything in my life has changed; new Job, new friends, new state, new home, new everything. It was almost like a fresh start and I took advantage of it. I started to become more and more comfortable with telling people that I was gay. I am not going to lie and say that it was easy because it wasn’t.

Here is summary of my first coming out conversation:

I was having dinner with two close friends and everything was going great…we were having a good time but they knew I had something to tell them but I kept delaying it until I gathered some strength. These two were going to be the first people I was going to tell. I had no idea where to start so we sat down and I started talking. I was talking with no road map whatsoever. I told them about my transition to NC and how I was feeling about everything. They were smiling and nodding but seemed a bit confused about why I was rambling on and on about things that didn’t seem to have a point. What felt like 45minutes of me talking and them listening, I finally blurted it out. I have never had such a mix of relief and fear all mashed together in that second that was suspended. They did the best thing I could have asked for…they said alright and how am I doing. Not one note of anger, fear, apprehension, hate, or disgust just support.

This was the turning point in my life. I finally mustered the strength to start telling people, people who I care for. As I starting telling more and more people…it became easier for me to say because I starting having confidence in myself and the bonds that I have with my friends and family. I have met with some negativity towards who I am but that is out shined by the support and love that I have received from others. I am still in the process of coming out but it’s getting better for me. I am happy. My story is just beginning!