My #nationalcomingoutday story:
I first came out when I was 15 years old, while playing the massively multiplayer online roleplaying game called EverQuest. I played an avatar named Aleolin, an African-American ‘Erudite’ Wizard on the Prexus Server, and I spent 40+ hours a week playing to become one of the most powerful players in the history of the game, quite famous. I didn’t have a life outside the game, but in the midst of my fame in Everquest, I made intimate friends. Our avatars did everything together. Hung out. Sang songs. Drank electronic ale. Slew dragons. Flew our winged steeds through the clouds. And I remember, one day, as I sat under the Tum-Tum Tree in the Plane of Power with my best wizard friend Livec, I typed out that I was gay. He said I was the first gay man he’d ever talked to. And he was the first person I had ever told I was gay. We then went and raided a dungeon together. By the end of my time playing Everquest, I was known publicly as “The Pink Pansy,” the fabulously gay wizard.
Fast forward two years later, I came out in the real world in front of my senior class at Catholic St. Ignatius College Preparatory, after a four day mostly silent retreat we all went on called Kairos. On the final day (the day participants are told to ‘Live The 4th!’), I volunteered to publicly respond to that day’s homily, and at the end of my speech, I said, “I think Jesus believed in love and acceptance, and I think Jesus would want me to tell you all right now that I am gay.” What followed was the deepest silence I’ve ever heard in my life — 200 bodies coming to total stillness and shock as I walked back to my pew. People were mostly supportive afterwards, though the priests told me they while were very happy for my life discovery, Jesus would want me to be celibate…advice I did not take.
Life is Epic!