Michael, in his own words:
1. What does being gay mean to you?
2. What challenges have you faced?
3. What’s the gay community/scene like in Los Angeles?
4. What’s your coming out story?
2. Discrimination and being stereotyped
3. It really depends on what area and crowd you like to be around. Weho is very pretentious and prissy while silverlake/Los Feliz area is all the hipster gays which I’m into.
4. I came out right after high school at the age of 18. I just woke up one day and decided to tell my folks. They seemed stunned and they were quite for a min or so which seemed like a million years. My mom cried and my dad had the question of “but how do you know? Have you experimented?” I told him, of course. I just know. But when my mom was crying, my first thought was, children. I told her this doesn’t mean I won’t have children. I think this is one thing that parents of gay children worry about the most. Shortly after that day, my parents came to me. They said they did some research and found a local support group for gay youth. I was a little surprised but also felt very grateful to have parents who are supportive. A few weeks after my coming out, my adopted brother also came out. Now we are one big gay (happy) family!
Michael, in his own words: “I consider my sexuality to be a small, yet important, aspect of my identity. To me, being gay is all about love: Who do I love? Men, or women? Because I love men, I’m considered to be gay. I feel like others in the LGBT community place too much emphasis on sexuality.
(With regards to challenges) I’ve been stereotyped, harassed, betrayed, and treated like a subpar human. I suppose what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, right?
The scene (in Los Angeles) is very segregated. There’s the gays in WeHo, and then there’s everybody else. WeHo is like Vegas for the LGBT community: Nice to visit, but who would ever want to live there? The boys and girls of the area tend to focus on partying, superficiality, and materialism. The gay scene outside of WeHo is much less of a “scene” and more a blend of all types of people with different backgrounds and interests. I personally love the Eastside (Silverlake, Los Feliz, Echopark), because I feel like people there focus less on sexuality and more on the character of a person.
When I was 15 years old, my older brother found a gay erotica novel (appropriately titled “Boy’s First Time), under my bed mattress. His natural response was to show my parents the book. They asked if I was gay, and the scared teenager that I was responded with a, “I think I’m bi?” After a few weeks, I flat out told them I was gay. They struggled with it at first, but now they are completely accepting of me.”