Justin, in his own words: “What inspires me about the majority of gay men is that each one of us has lived a portion of our lives in solitude and fear, as someone who had to take an incredible leap of faith, sometimes admit that we had been lying to ourselves and our loved ones and reset our lives in a new light.
Being gay is not one thing, but it is a community which has grown out of various horrifying and inspiring circumstances. It is a community which is incredibly expressive and daring and whose members are more visible than ever before, which is amazing for the youngest generation who will hopefully have less isolation and fear in their lives.
I actually never identified myself as gay until I fell for someone. I had been attracted to men before, but rationalized my attractions by thinking that I could “tell when a guy was handsome” — but didn’t equate that to actually being attracted to him.
Well, his name was David and he was playing Buzz Lightyear in a show I was stage managing at Disneyland in California. He was really sweet and cute, he was moving to Australia and I was helping him with his move there. Once it hit me that I was falling for him, it felt like I knew what being gay actually meant, not just having a physical attraction, but understanding how I could love him also — it was a big moment for me.
I moved to NYC the next month with my best friend, I never mentioned my feelings to David, but on the car ride to the airport I confided in my best friend that I thought that I was gay. She rolled down the car window to take a deep breath — and we started laughing. I didn’t tell anyone else I was gay, I wanted to take my time and see what it was all about.
My mom called me a few months later and asked me flat out if I was gay, I took a deep breath and told her that I wasn’t sure, she said, “Ok, well just let me know when you know.” So when I did know, we sat down and I told her I was gay — she actually started to cry, which I was horrified by because I thought she was ok with it. I asked her if she was crying because I was gay, she said no and told me that she had several friends who were gay, but she was crying because she had lost every single one of her gay friends to AIDS so it was very difficult for her.
She hugged me and told me she would always love me. Once I had come out to my mother I actually just went through my entire phone book and told each one of my friends and relatives within about a week and all of them were incredibly supportive.”