If you see me today, you’ll see me with lash extensions, a designer bag, painted nails, and short shorts. Shit, I might even have on tinted face oil, concealer and foundation on if I feel like it. A couple years ago I wouldn’t be wearing what I wear now.
Growing up, I wasn’t always sure if I was gay or not but everyone and their damn granny knew ( ). I honestly didn’t even know what homosexuality was, but I knew it was “wrong” so I tried my best to make sure that I wasn’t because I didn’t want to go to hell. Who the hell wants to burn in hell for eternity? Not I.
I’m the fourth out of five children and one out of four boys. So imagine that. As far as I could remember, my older brother always called me/ said I was gay. Before I even learned how to spell and write my name legibly, I was gay. In the beginning, I was so confused by it. I felt like before I even got to figure out who I was I was already being labeled with this HUGE word. I remember sitting in the back of the car, whining and moving my hips to Beyoncé on the radio, hoping no one could feel or see that I was moving. Did I think that was gay then? No. I was a dancer then, and heavily involved in the arts.
As I continued to grow and rise from elementary to middle and then high school, I felt confused. I wasn’t sure if I was gay or if I was scared to be gay. It was sickening. I felt like I was in this shell or all alone in my world. I was too afraid to talk about it or tell anyone, just to save myself from judgment and/or losing my friends. Who wants to be the gay kid at school? Popular or not, people are ignorant and kids are mean. I was also afraid of being outed to everyone without even being sure of myself. It was tough and incredibly dark.
I didn’t do any exploring in middle school, let alone high school. High school started off pretty terrible because my brother, who had just graduated high school the year I started, told his friends that I was gay. His friends told their friends and their friends told their friends and on my first day of school I was “Tori’s gay little brother” and not just Tarrion. Imagine that. Once, I think I probably tried to talk to a guy my junior or senior year. I couldn’t go through with it because it was verrrry weird. I’m not sure if I liked it or disliked it. Nothing happened we just texted and talked on the phone and shortly after people at school knew. While, I was already being called gay for just simply being me now people are going to know. I wasn’t happy about any of this. I just thought that it was insanely unfair for me to not have the chance to figure me out, privately.
I graduate high school and now I feel like I now have the room to explore without everyone in my business. And that’s exactly what I do. Finally, I now have the space and opportunity to figure things out. I download the apps (I’m not listing them because ya’ll know them) and I met new people. I’m going to give myself the chance to meet people and see if this is what I like. Now, I’m meeting guys and mind you, I ran into a lot of familiar faces. Boys from high school, my brother’s friends and people that made fun of me. I learn about the different gays, the masc, fems, tops and bottoms. I was so lost in these labels and titles and couldn’t understand any of it.
I test the waters and begin dating around, privately. I was nervous about a lot of things and during this time I was a virgin. Sex was not something that I was interested in and it had nothing to do with the people. I just didn’t want to have sex with anyone. There were some scary moments where I’ve had to fight people off of me and/or run away. There were things I wanted to share with my mom, but it scared me to come out to her.
I move to New Orleans and transferred schools to finish undergrad. I’m finally free. Now, I’m in a place where no one knows me or anyone that I know. This is my chance to introduce myself as the Tarrion that I want to be. I wasn’t nervous or too scared to be gay because I didn’t know anyone and if they didn’t like it, oh well. And it didn’t matter because this is who I am. I instantly make great friends I find my tribe at my school and at my best friend’s school. I explored and openly dated around and I met so many people. Some good, many not worth mentioning. I now felt like I could be ME!
Ironically, shortly after moving, I dated someone. This was the first person I actually gave a chance and eventually who I had sex with. This is the start of a very toxic relationship, but it’s a part of my journey and story. I began learning about the dynamics of gay relationships, roles and positions. In the beginning, it was a whirlwind. I was 21, but I felt so childish and uneducated because of my lack of experience. Later, after that relationship tore me apart, I finally came out to my mom. I felt like I had no one to talk to or no one that could tell me what I needed to hear, but I knew my mom did. I needed my mom. There were many days where I cried and was so sad because I felt like I couldn’t tell her because she wouldn’t be accepting. Eventually, I was left with no choice and during a visit back home to Houston; I told my mom that I was gay the night before returning to New Orleans.
It was extremely hard for me but so relieving to tell my mom. I hated when I couldn’t confide in her or receive her advice. The moment that I told her was intense. I remember it like it was yesterday, but I also felt this weight lift off of me. I felt free. Anyone that knows me knows my mom is my best friend and I couldn’t even be honest with my best friend out of fear. No more. Eventually, I came out to my mom, and I told her everything that I was going through. I didn’t know what I expected, or that I had expectations for our conversation. I was just glad that I finally told her. Sure, many others knew, but my mom is who I wanted to talk to and share things with. I was just afraid of facing rejection.
I tell everyone all the time that I didn’t start living until I was 21. This is when I chose myself and my happiness over what others thought. Back then I wasn’t wearing bags or doing anything that I am now, but that was when I explored my sexuality. For so long I was so afraid of being gay out loud. I didn’t want to face judgment or scrutiny. I didn’t have fun like I wanted to; I didn’t dress how I wanted to and I never really tried anything that I really wanted to try. Truthfully, I was just so scared of what people had to say. During that time I was so jealous of those who had the courage to be themselves unapologetically. Honestly, I was also a big hater because I wanted to be just like them.
At 25, I’m PROUD to say that I am extremely happy and comfortable with myself and I no longer care what anyone says or what face someone makes when they see me and my friends out. And maybe people are right and I know that I’m that bitch because, yes, I am. It took way too long to become who I am, so sure, they’re right. I love that everyone else knows it too. Sure, I’m confident, but I can always be more confident and more secure with myself. It’s difficult, people are cruel and just evil. I see so many trans women and young gay boys killed by their family and by random men in the streets.
I am super blessed to have amazing friends. These people gave me the strength, courage and the space to freely be myself. Their love and support is everything I need to love myself. I am happy, grateful and healthy. I wanted to share a bit of my story with you all in honor of Pride month. Obviously, I know that there are many people who are still struggling and I understand. Find your people, find your tribe and create the family that you wish you had, if need be. It’s so beautiful on the other side. Take your time but please, always choose yourself.
With Love & Pride,