A Note From Jonathan, in Los Angeles…

“Hi Kevin,

I just stumbled upon your article in Hello Mr. and Googled your website as soon as I finished reading it. As I scrolled through the photos and stories of gay men around the world, I felt compelled to find the “coming out” email I wrote on November 17, 2010 to my brother, who was living in China at the time. I used the email to come out to my parents on that same evening, though I read the letter aloud to my parents in our little home in Olney, Maryland because the idea of talking to them without the paper barrier between us made me want to run back into my room and lose myself in more episodes of “Six Feet Under.” I haven’t looked at the email since that night, which was now almost four years ago, and I’m in tears remembering the pain I felt as my mom silently left the room, but also in reflecting on the journey that my mom and I have been on since that evening in our living room. I wrote this in the email to my brother:

I worry about Mom and Dad, and I feel they both played a large role in leading me to repress everything over the years. They’ve often made remarks at the mention of someone who’s gay or when there’s a gay character on TV, short expressions that always make my heart sink every time. Things like “Ew” or when I told them Will was gay and Mom said, “He’s…gay. Does that make you uncomfortable?” But I have faith this minor homophobia stems from an innocent ignorance and not a moral issue with homosexuality.

I’m proud to say that my relationships with my friends and family–including my mom–are stronger now than I could’ve ever imagined. In fact, when I think about my mom and dad re-reading that email, I imagine they’d experience a similar sadness in being reminded of their initial reactions to my coming out. But they quickly created a community for me as I tried all the gay stereotypes on for size in hopes of finding one that would fit and, in more recent years, as I’ve been learning about love and heartbreak.

I’m not sure if you’re still updating the site, but I felt the urge to send you this message tonight. I’ve attached a photo to this email as well. It’s the only picture I have of me in my new room in Los Angeles, where I moved four weeks ago after living in San Francisco for the last few years. I told my friend who was in my room with me that I didn’t want him to take it. He did anyway. And I’m very glad he did. I’m proud of where and who I am right now, and a little picture immortalizing this moment in time can’t hurt. :)

Thanks for reading and for sharing the wonderful website that you’ve created.”

photo provided by Jonathan
photo provided by Jonathan

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