Saving Lives, by Spencer M.

Friday, September 14th, 2012

I grew up outside of Sacramento, in a town called Granite Bay. Like most, I always knew I was attracted to the same sex from a really young age. I didn't know what it all meant, but I knew that I was different. I grew up in a strongly religious family, where I went to church three times a week.

When I was about 12 years old, I went on vacation with my family to San Francisco. When we got back to the hotel we were staying at, I turned on the t.v. I ended up sitting through this program that preached about "homosexuality being wrong" and that "if you were a homosexual, you were going to hell." Hearing those words- it scared me to death. I still remember the feeling I got after watching that hateful program. A painful feeling in the pit of my stomach. Almost like I had just embarked on the steapest roller coaster. I was young and gullible, so I believed everything anyone said. From that point on, in that random hotel in San Francisco, it was engrained in mind that I was "going to hell.

37875_mediumI hated myself completely. I would go to Junior High, and every morning would be called horrendous names about my sexuality. I was confused. I didn't tell a soul I was gay, so how did they all know? Why were they doing this to me? They would throw rocks and trash at me, tell me to kill myself, etc. There were a lot of times where I actually wanted to end my life. I resorted to burning myself, and other self mutilation. I tried "reversing" myself from gay to straight, even looking up summer camps and excorsisms to help me not be this person anymore. At the end of the day, I hated who looked back at me in the mirror.

This lasted until my freshman year of high school. I mustered up the courage to tell one of my best friends at the time that I was gay. She told everyone at school. But instead of getting the reaction that I did back in Junior High, I got the opposite. People supported me. Campaigns like NOH8 supported me, most importantly. It still wasn't perfect, I got bullied here and there of course, but it was still a relief. I flaunted who I was, and took pride.

The church my family and I attended found out that I was gay because of all this, and asked me not come back. Instead of being this scared boy from Junior High, I was this confident man who knew they were all wrong. The feeling of ultimate fear by telling my parents and family was still there. It was something I thought I would take to my grave. When I decided to come out to my parents, I knew I couldn't do it in person. So I wrote them a two page note, and laid it on their bed. They approached me after reading it and forbid me of seeing my boyfriend, and were completely not supportive like I had expected. My life felt like it was falling back into the darkness of junior high, and I felt myself starting to feel those same feelings again.

After a few months though, they had done some research on the topic, and now share the similar views as myself. Although there is still some work to be done, they LOVE me and they now can't stop talking about how much they LOVE my boyfriend. :) I am so happy with my life and where it is right now, and having support systems like the NOH8 Campaign who stood up for me during my time of need, really got me to this place.

So thank you Adam Bouska and the NOH8 Team! I really can't thank you guys enough. For saving my life, for saving lives around the globe. It does get better.

-Spencer M.

(Pictured Left, above)


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