Patrick, in his own words: “For me being gay has always been second to who I am. There was a while where I thought that was my only identifier, but the truth is, at the end of the day, it’s not what gender we’re attracted to that defines us. I’m a huge nerd, I’m proud of that, and I’ll go on for hours talking about Star Wars or the newest Green Lantern; that’s who I really am, and thats the person I really want someone to get to know. Being gay doesn’t define me, it’s just another feature of me as a person. (And to be fair, I never got any of the useful qualities; I have absolutely no fashion sense.)
(With regards to challenges) I grew up very overweight and more than a little socially awkward. Dragon shirts, zip-off kakis, the works. I was the bottom of the rung through middle school and high school. It took me a long while, but in the past few years I’ve finally found a place that I’m happy to be. Coming to terms with, and being happy about being gay was a big step on that road.
The Columbus gay community is not like any that I’ve seen anywhere else. With so many colleges, the city feels very young, and it definitely shows in the gay culture. Columbus has drag queens perform at major city events, our Pride Parade is one of the biggest events of the year, and there’s no shortage of bars and restaurants that are gay owned/operated. The city has gone past just being accepting, the gay community here is a part of everyday life.
My coming out went very well, if not exactly as I expected. My dad served in the Marine Corps, and my mom was a Playboy Bunny. I just assumed that he’d go all… alpha male: “no son of mine…,” that kind of thing, and my mom would shrug it off. Ended up being that he didn’t care, and she cried because she wanted grandkids. It all turned out fine though, I just had to explain to her that I didn’t like children on a good day, and even if I was straight, they probably weren’t in my future. Probably the best moment my… gay career (if you can call it that) was something my dad said when we went to dinner a few months ago: “The proudest moment of my life was when you came out to me, because it meant you trusted me enough to say it.”
If I could tell my younger self anything, it would be to stop trying so hard. I spent almost all of my young life trying desperately to get people to like me, or notice me–but that doesn’t happen until you’re comfortable with yourself. Once you’re happy being around you, other people will be too.”