Michael, in his own words: “Being gay means having a love and appreciation for the same sex in the way that other people may have a love and appreciation for the opposite sex. It’s natural and human, and it’s beautiful. It took me a long time to realize this truth. Growing up, I managed to internalize
a lot of homophobia that made it hard for me to be myself around others. I did not come out to anybody while I was in school, and I closed myself off to a lot of experiences, including loving ones. I delayed gratification in one part of my life to pursue success in other parts.
I came to San Francisco hoping that just the act of moving to a gay-friendly city would make changes in my life. I realized that it would take a lot more than that. I slowly but surely started coming
out to friends and family. None of my fears became reality. Instead, I found my myself growing in positive ways and being embraced by others in ways I had never imagined. San Francisco has a culture of acceptance that I haven’t seen in many other places. Being gay here does not make you different. Instead it makes you a member of a community that is still a part of humanity.”