Ivory, in his own words: “As a 20 year old male, being gay doesn’t really mean anything to me to be honest. I’m pretty sure I’d feel the same way on a daily basis if I were straight. The only thing different is liking a guy or a girl. At the end of the day, “Gay” is just anther label. We are all human. Doesn’t matter if you are white, black, man, woman, gay or straight.
In my life I’ve had many challenges. Primarily, coming from a very low income home. I had to learn how to survive at a very young age. I had to also overcome school issues. I was very shy in primary school. I refuse to do work and got a warning that if I didn’t start showing improvement, I would be transferred to “special” classes. Obviously I changed and began to preform a lot better because I knew I had no problems learning. I had to step it up and with a lot of help, I am now on my way to my 3’rd year in college and I also have a very good job. That’s what happens when you never give up.
The gay community in Little Rock is very interesting. We don’t have a big openly gay cast but most of the locals for the most part support us. We normally have no problems in public other than a couple of occasional “Sighs” and “frowns”. But nothing too drastic. For the most part, we don’t have that much drama. We all know and love each other. We’re pretty much one big happy family.
I came out of the closet April 30, 2013. I had a boyfriend at the time and we decided it was too hard to hold a relationship and be in the closet at the same time. But if we came out, we had to come out with a bang. That day we took a photo us kissing each other and posted it on Facebook. After 24 hours it received 1.1K likes and over 350 comments. We were overwhelmed of how many people saw us and heard about us. News spread all over Little Rock. We would go to parties and people we didn’t even knew would run up to us asking us questions and says they were big fans. But, we knew the news would spread to our families. I returned home that summer expecting a lot of disappointment. I walked in the door and my mom was smiling. Her exact words were. “So when will I get to meet my soon to be step son”. I was in tears. My mom accepted me being gay. I was so afraid that she would be upset at me. It turns out that all of my family accepted me as well. It was a huge sign of relief.
If I were to give my younger self advice, It would be to never take anything and anyone for granted. I would tell me to listen to how others feel and don’t be selfish. I would also tell him to never give up on anything and always strive for the best things in life because he is worth it and so much more.”