Last month, I published some of the stories I collected at Manatee Pride. ICYMI, I had a booth to help promote my new business which is all about helping folks tell their stories.
I lucked into a fun idea - having people take a turn at telling their stories. What started off as just a lark turned into something way more powerful. A few folks told their "Coming Out" stories, and not all of it was roses. A lot of the stories were, mind you, and almost all had happy endings.
No, not that kind. Sheesh.
Some dealt with self-loathing, some dealt with being outcast from loved ones, while others dealt with struggles with religion and spirituality.
These stories, the rosy ones, the tough ones, all of them- they need to be kept for posterity's sake. I want to honor them in the best way I know how. I am going to print a book of them and offer it for sale as an e-book as well as a hard-copy and all of the profits will go to an organization that is dedicated to providing support for the entire LGBT+ community. (TBD).
In the meantime, here are some of the stories:
"When I was 10 I told my mother "I wish I was a boy so it would be okay for me to like girls." My mother immediately told me I was to never say anything like that again.
I spent the next 25 years trying desperately not to like girls. I researched, tried to pray the gay away, and went to counseling. Nothing changed.
Finally, at the age of 39 I accepted that there was nothing wrong with me. God made me who I am and He loved me, no matter what. I have been out for 8 years now. I am living my truth and I've never been happier. The weight of the world is off my shoulders. :) "
The above story was one of the first that dealt with the struggle of coming out. At the end of the day there were two girls reading the collection and one was so visibly moved I had to engage with her. She wrote this one:
"I was raised strict Christian and spent my first 12 years in denial. It was the seeds sown creating my depression. I finally learned to accept myself & love whomever I want regardless of race, creed, religion, or gender. Thank you all for being here.
Love to all. #Pan-Pride"
Just to show it wasn't all serious, tear-jerker stories, here is a light-hearted one that makes me smile:
"One night stand just so happened to turn into so much more."
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