Morgan, in his own words: “I’m not quite sure what it means to be gay. Its such an abstract concept, one that is constantly being manipulated by each individual that uses it. I do know what it means to feel an indescribable joy after a great first date, to be hurt by someone, to be deeply affected by someone. I do know what it means to be in love.
(With regards to challenges) People are mean. Kids are meaner. The kids that I went to school with never let a day go by without getting their chance to say things like “You know you’re a fag, right?”, or laugh at me as I walked down the hall. This was my normal. It changed me in such a way that I physically and mentally retreated. I lived in such fear of being a target that all my energy went into keeping my effeminate qualities in check at all times. After years of this sort of upkeep, the mental exhaustion of always hiding forced me to realize that I was torturing myself as much as my former classmates. I learned to let go of all those fears and anxieties. I learned to look at myself and say “It’s okay. You’re okay.”
I’m not extremely involved in the gay community in Portland, but the impression that I have is that it is positive and supportive, yet small. Portland seems like a city where anyone can feel comfortable being whoever they want to be.
My coming out story is relatively simple. In high school, I tried dating girls. By college, I had realized that dating girls was not fulfilling. So I tried dating guys. Essentially, that was the most fulfilling decision I have ever made. Despite having previously dated women, I never really came out to my friends and family. I’ve always been open about my personal life with loved ones and when I started dating guys, it was no different. It was a smooth transition and no one seemed to question my decision. I say that with a definite sense of gratitude.
I would advise my younger self to always walk with a head held high and to learn the phrase “Fuck off!” by the 5th grade. A little confidence and an unapologetic attitude go a long way.”