“I am gay of simply being. In this moment, I am 22, single and often referred to as an old soul. Aware beyond my years, yet vulnerable to many facets of life. To me, gay means love. Simple. Nothing more and nothing less. Because I am gay, I am love. This is one truth I share with clients, friends and even to you (a stranger willing to read a piece of my story).
My journey of gay started when I was harassed daily in middle-school by everyone. If it wasn’t the boys in the locker room then it surely was the girls in the hallway. Typical day included books being knocked out of my grasp and being called a faggot, he-she or shim. The majority of the school hated me and this Aries definitely dished it back with an attitude. Most of the adults in my life at the time just accepted this as a normal process of growing up.
Everyone gets picked on.
You’ll be better before you get married.
Well, ignore it and it will stop.
As you can imagine, none of those band-aid remarks healed the situation. It actually took me leaving the area altogether to discover the brilliance in what it means to be gay. Because I come from an impoverished blue collar family and was rigorously put through the ringer in public school, a guidance counselor referred me to a private boarding school for low-income families. This was my golden ticket to better my life before it was too late.
My high school days fed me the moments I needed to grow as a person. I found my spiritual calling with crystals and juggled after-school activities that included Model United Nations, Amnesty International letter campaigns, student government, tons of community service projects and memorable trips to art museums in Philly and Washington D.C. . I wanted to experience it all and even managed to do cross-country and ballet briefly my senior year. But even being gay in this setting was looked down upon and kept in secret. I wanted to start a gay-straight alliance but was told it’s against the school’s policy for religious reasons. I must journey some more to understand and so I walked across the stage from teen to adult.
The benefits of my secondary educational experience, sent me to Pittsburgh to be the first of my family to graduate from college. A bar raising triumph that would not have been possible if I didn’t courageously pursue the risk of change. In college, the freedom was exhilarating and heart raising. And I found other gay boys! Tons! But, quickly knew I didn’t belong.
The overly confident and mostly attractive gay males were dancers and swarmed in seas. I was not one to push my ego so rashly or eager to have sex freely. So instead my energy was channeled in my honors studies, working on campus and finding my way with ease. In the summer of 2010, I interned for a queer arts organization in Boston because I intended to explore the GLBTQ kingdom with immense focus. If I am gay, I needed to live mindfully of all aspects of what it means to be gay. So it led to many firsts including learning about Harvey Milk, meeting a drag queen, laughing with transgenders and going to a gay bar and swinging my shirt above my head like a goofball. It was an amazing experience and I never wanted the summer to end because I knew I would be returning to a state where I did not belong.
The one highlight from this internship was experiencing firsthand the essence of community that being gay invokes. Typically beings experience community primarily through their biological family, but because gay is so brilliant, GLBTQ folks find that source of belonging often cross culturally and with people outside of his or her direct blood line. To be able to form a union among loving souls is beautiful and compassionate. Mutual respect at it’s finest which energetically being gay inspires during PRIDE festivals and parades. Lots of color and cheer happened as I was one of the leaders in charge of the theater company’s PRIDE parade involvement. Having hundreds of people expressing gayness for life was nothing more than pure sexiness.
Gay is love.
Gay is happiness.
Gay is freedom.
Gay is you.
And gay is me.
No matter your sexual desires or political statements, gay is an energetic adjective that describes lively, wholesome and cheerful times. The lessons and insights of my soul path together have brought me to this point of my life at 22 to realize that being gay is positive spirit, commitment, respect and integrity. All key ingredients that I articulate in my spiritual practice.
Announcing who we truly are in this world, in my experience, is a risk. This is a risk we endure because in true authenticity of the circumstance – to love can be distracted by labels, fearsome tales or disease, such aspects that squash our natural light. However when we are at peace with our inner self it makes living oh so gay! A risk well worth taking.”
Learn more about Bernard at, www.bernardtalks.com