I have been really open about my sexuality in my writing and on the E! Television shows I starred in. As an adult, it is very freeing for me to be my authentic self as much as possible—especially on such a public platform. I believe there is no way of truly connecting with people unless you are able to let your guard and ego down. You’d be surprised how much that does not happen in reality television or in Hollywood in general.
With that said, as a young boy I was not always able to be my true self. Part of that had to do with the path of just growing up and figuring out myself. Yep, all a part of life that I am sure every single one of us goes through. There were the obvious society mind blocks and the outside noise that teaches how you “should be” and how you “should act.” Whether that is from parents, religion, the media, social media, television shows, etc., there is a general influence on young people and how they should think. All can be very confusing for anyone questioning themselves or trying to understand their sexuality for that matter.
For years, I fought against the “you should act like” and this is what “normal is” remarks. It was a mental battle I eventually won.I pray for the kids that commit suicide or that are bullied for being gay. I pray for the LGBT men and women in countries where they are brutally attacked, killed with no law to protect them.
When the Supreme Court gay marriage ruling was announced recently, I had a moment where tears rushed down my face. It was an overwhelming sense of joy, gratitude for the leaders in the LGBT community that fought so hard and the powerful feeling of acceptance for not just my boyfriend and I, but for the younger generation who will have a somewhat easier road ahead of them. History was made that day. Sadly, there was also some backlash from people. I expected that, but not from somebody I am related to. A very distant cousin (key word: very) wrote a hateful comment on my Facebook wall. It not only shocked me, it completely disappointed other family members, especially my super supportive parents.
What bothered me the most was that it felt like a direct attack on me. Then, I started to question why this cousin would do such a heartless act. Why did she not keep her opinion to herself? What was her intent, and why did she feel it was necessary to add negativity to such a historic day? Was she coming at me from a political view or a religious view? Why the hate?
It got me thinking about how much of our views are instilled in us at a very early age and how that shapes so much of who we become to a certain degree. This family member I am speaking of comes from a whole other older generation. Much of what she knows is from a very small bubble. Perhaps, her view of God is different from mine. Perhaps, she is expressing her rights just as much as I am expressing mine. There is one massive difference. My God, comes from a different place. My connection with God comes from a place of no judgment, compassion, love and the clear fact we are all created equal and should be treated equal. That is what I believe in.
So who do I pray to?
The God that I know accepts me, accepts you, accepts each and every one of us.
Religion and spirituality have always fascinated me. I have vivid memories of early grade Catholic School. The nuns, the religious lessons, going to mass, the teachings of Jesus and how can I ever forget the uniforms. The Catholic religion was introduced to me at an early age, and I was baptized, went to church, had my Holy Communion, etc.
The older I became though, and the more I learned about what being gay meant, including that it was not accepted in the Catholic church, it all confused the heck out of me. This is all on top of being called a faggot on the playground. Can you imagine what I was thinking?
There were many areas in the Catholic religion that didn’t make sense to me. Why did such a holy place that preached about loving thy neighbor not accept all neighbors who practice kindness and are genuinely good people that give back to the world and believe in God?
Later on in my life, and before I came out of the closet, one of the many things that helped guide me was tapping into my own relationship with God outside of the Catholic church’s walls. The more in tune I became with who I was, the stronger the faith within myself grew. There is something so powerful you experience when you not only accept yourself but also accept that there is a higher power who accepts you too. I stopped focusing on what society and religion had taught me, and rather what I knew about the God I prayed to at night.
It brought me peace and a stronger connection to my own spirituality.
I live a life with love in my heart and a God on my side.
Yes, I was born gay. Yes, God loves me.