Let me warn the readers here: This will be a long post.

Alright, so to begin my coming out story, I should probably start when I was fifteen and had my first sexual experience with another man. This guy was really attractive and we had "sex." (Do you count flip flopping for a total of five minutes combined, followed by "Oh yeah, we're not gay, we didn't finish... sex?")

Well, I come from an extremely religious background (Non-Denominational, closely related to Pentecostals).

I told my mom what happened later that year in tears. (My parents split when I was five/six.) I wanted help to "change" because I was terrified of going to hell. But I think I was more terrified of being a social outcast my whole life, my family hating me, my church family hating me (the pastors of my church are like my aunt and uncle, we spent every holiday together, etc), and all I really knew was discrimination.

Well, when her solution was to go talk to my uncle (pastor), and see a therapist, and go up for "deliverance" because I have a "demon living inside of me" I did. But I didn't go up for prayer in the church, only to my uncle. Ever since we barely talk. It really hurts. I still talk to my "aunt" (pastor's wife) but then again, as far as I know, she has no idea. I asked him not to say anything.

Well, I told my mom I was "healed" in my mid-sixteenish years because I couldn't stand the way our relationship had become. (See Prayers of Bobby).

Over the next two years, I grew to accept myself and love myself for being gay, and "came out to myself" at eighteen when I went to a gay club by myself for the first time. I didn't know anyone gay. I knew I was gay and there was no way for me to change (I had really been trying since I was thirteen). I also knew that my life would be hard from here on out.

I developed a sense of pride and acceptance of myself. I grew to love myself. Something that I never had for myself. I grew to be secure in myself, and happy. Something, again, I never was.

Well at eighteen, my mom read an email to a "ex" (we "dated" [fucked] for two weeks). She knew the truth. Threatened to kick me out if I didn't "change" so I had to "fight it." I had to go to church, and basically appear like a good Christian boy because "hanging around straight people will make me straight." If I didn't fight it, I would be kicked out.

I should have left then. But I have been determined to pay for college myself (parents never really helped out). I couldn't afford to live on my own and go to college... I would have to take loans (which I refused to do since I didn't want to end up in debt like my parents).

I joined the military reserves. Long story. But that is what led me to coming out to my father. I never actually said "I'm gay." I knew he knew because he once told me "it's OK" when I was thirteen and he caught me looking at gay porn. I said "I think I'm bi." I wasn't ready to admit it myself. So, I always knew he knew, and he was OK with it (largely thanks to my step-mom, I later found out).

That didn't pan out (medical issues... lung had collapsed in past and disqualified me). And I was terrified of being dishonorably discharged if they found out, so I didn't actively fight the medical dis-qualifier, even though on paper it made much more sense to go the reserves route so I could pay for myself through college.

So, off to college I went. I still lived at home with my mom and "fought it."

At nineteen, I moved out. I could no longer handle the emotional torment and self hate that was re-emerging as I began to "fight it." I moved out, and at the same time paying for my own place, began helping my mother pay for her bills since she couldn't afford it. I know, backwards situation. But I was able to start my own business and work my butt off making enough money to pay for college, my bills, and some of hers.

Well, at twenty I met my first true long term relationship boyfriend (now ex). We were together for a year and a half. After a year of living on my own, I "moved back in" with my mother. Why help her pay for bills, pay my own bills, when I slept there maybe one night a week? (Always at my exs house.)

Well, fast forward six months later, and my ex and I broke up. That was when I laid down the law for my mom (who had slowly grown from "no sin in my household" to "I'll pray for you." If I am still here because I am helping pay the bills, and not because of her changed views, I don't know).

So, I told my mom all about my ex, and I was crying to her. I didn't know if I was making the right choice leaving him. Well, I did, but I didn't like causing HIM pain. He may have brought it upon himself and pushed me away in every way possible, but he did it because HE was terrified for being hurt. In the end, I couldn't continue to prove to him that I loved him and wanted him. I was exhausted. I tried to make it work. I gave up. And I think I was in love with helping him through his insecurities, since I had all of the same ones before. I saw myself in him.

Well, I told my mom all about my past, how I wasn't fighting it and she should just deal with it. I was mostly talking about my ex and the pain I was in because he was in pain and the pain I was in for feeling like a failure. And I do care for him, I do love him (not in love with him). Of course she takes this opportunity to tell me that "God has a plan for me and maybe this is his way of telling me to change." I remember saying in a stern voice, "Mom, be my mother right now! Not some religious nut job!"

Well, two weeks after that, she was trying to convince me to go to some camp for "deliverance" and a "therapist." I just screamed, "There's nothing wrong with me dammit!"

I told her to deal with it.

Two weeks after that, I told my grandparents I was gay. Maybe it was three weeks. My grandparents came down, my grandpa to help my mom in the garden and my grandma to see me. I showed my grandma the movie "Prayers for Bobby." She basically said, "It's OK to be gay." My grandparents are Methodist. I told her I was gay. She always suspected it. She didn't care. She still loved me.

She has a way to go. At first she said she thought I was born that way, but now isn't sure. She also wants me to keep my mind open if the right girl came along. And she doesn't think I should have kids. (I might have sprung too much on her, hah) But, I know it's a process for her as much as it was me.

I asked her not to tell my grandpa till he saw the movie too and she could put feelers. She said OK. Somehow she ended up telling him anyways, and he took it better then her. He says he always knew, says I was born this way, and will support me no matter what in whatever way he can. He loves me, and he doesn't care. He wants me to be happy.

Now, they did say they are not sure if the rest of the family (blood related) should know. Mix of Mormons, Catholics, Baptists, Non-Denominational. They did say I can bring my boyfriend home on Christmas (if the rest of the family knew? Still working out those details). But they don't want us sleeping in the same bed because we shouldn't be "advertising" and "causing trouble."

I understand it is a process for them too, so I won't challenge those views yet. I won't be "advertising it" by sleeping in the same bed. One day they will understand.

My grandpa says I have a hard road (I am aware, hah).

So, that is my almost all the way out of the closet coming out story.

I have a mother who still wants me to change, but is "putting up with it." I have grandparents who don't really care, but they are still growing in their views. My dad has always known, and he doesn't care, neither does my step-mom. They always want to meet whoever I am dating, and being gay is like being straight.

I have yet to come out to the rest of my family. I still have my gay friends where I am out. My church family and people I know in the church do not know. I stopped going a long