I’ve Always Known I Was Gay

Me & Christiaan being us in Cuba

For as long as I can remember I’ve always known.

I was five or six years old when I went to a girl’s house to play. I don’t remember now if she was from school or one of the kids in the neighbourhood.

From my little boy’s eyes her house seemed like a mansion. I remember going into the basement and feeling lost by the number of rooms I could see. We went into a playroom filled with toys. I remember wanting to play with the dollhouse more than anything. And something about that moment made me self-conscious.

My grade 2 teacher’s name was Miss Hickey. I remember her name because she cared about me. I was dyslexic and had ADHD. She spent time with me after class to help me practice my alphabet and to discern the letters.

What I liked most about grade 2 was Ted. He sat one or two rows in front of me and often when I passed behind his desk I would poke him. He was a little bit chubby but I had a crush on him. His reaction and that of the other boys and girls also made me self-conscious.

For many years I didn’t have a word for what I was feeling. By grade 7 a couple of the bullies did.

When I entered high school I had high hopes for a new kind of freedom and the possibility of starting fresh. I wasn’t an excellent student. I had a terrible time focussing and paying attention, and I was so insecure that I didn’t make very many friends.

In grade 10 gym class I saw Ted again. There was a small room in the gym filled with Universal exercise equipment. Ted had used the gym over the summer and in my eyes he was a muscle Adonis. My knees felt weak looking at him and I would jerk off many a night thinking about him.

When I was 16 years old I began to question my Catholic beliefs. What was being taught in the church at the time did not support me as a human being. I had finally learned the language. I privately decided I was bisexual — a protective mechanism to avoid accepting the truth. At the same time I became agnostic. I suppose I was sitting on the fence about everything I believed in.

In grade 12 I tried my hand in dating two different girls. One was at high school and she was part of the New Wave crowd, to which I belonged. Tara was sweet on me and I couldn’t help but be attracted to her attention. We slow dance at one of the school dances. Our bodies pressed close to each other and I knew I couldn’t do it anymore.

The other girl I met at a friend’s house party. I was drunk as she laid on top of me on the couch in the basement, with other people playing the same game. I had a full-on hard on that she was taking advantage of. My hormones were driving my body, but my mind was thinking about one of my friends in the very same room who was a guy.

I even got to go to her parents house and have dinner with the family. After a few weeks I had to end the sham before I did something I might regret. I told her something nice to make her feel good about herself and not implicate me as a homosexual. One of my best friends, Kevin, told me what she had said after the event. Apparently I was one of the nicest guys she had ever gone out with who didn’t try and take advantage of her.

Isn’t that exactly how a thoughtful homosexual treats a woman? :-)

I finally came out to my closest friends in the summer after high school. Everyone was accepting and supportive. That was a bittersweet summer. Nothing would’ve been better if I could have been out and accepted during high school.

Coming out is a lifelong process. I don’t know how many more times I’ve had to come out since then. There will always be a small part of me that lives in the closet, and a stronger part that says, “Fuck that! Be who you are without compromising your identity and authenticity.”

– Darren
The Flex Your Mind Project

Mark Whitehand invited me to play and take part in “The 30 Things About Me Experiment.”




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Darren Stehle

Darren Stehle

Coach + Writer + Podcaster empowering LGBTQ+ change-makers to create a life they love by doing what they love and make an impact: DarrenStehle.Substack.com