In 2011 my life changed dramatically, and no I am not talking about my accident and spinal cord injury. While I was home over Christmas break I had decided that it was finally time to be myself and live my life without a daunting secret. I had to tell my parents that I was gay. This was one of the hardest things I have ever done. For the three weeks I was home I was trying to figure out how I was going to do this. After spending most of these three weeks full of nerves and constantly going over how I was going to do this, I realized there was no easy way for me to do it and it just had to be done.
I was lying on my bed before settling for the night; mom was doing bills on the computer and I knew that I had to let her know. I said to her “There is something I need to tell you”, and then there was a lot of silence as I worked up the courage to tell her. I finally told her and she was very surprised by this and was not expecting it. As this happened just prior to going to bed I knew that she would tell dad for me that night. The next day when dad came home he said that mom had told him what I had told her and I was relieved that both of them knew the truth and I was no longer hiding the secret.
I had finally fully accepted who I was and was ready to live my life and enjoy this part of my life. At this point, I had been spending a lot of time with a guy and things were becoming more serious; I did not want to hide this secret from my parents and wanted to be able to tell them myself instead of them finding out from someone else. After we had started dating I knew I had to tell my brother so that he also did not find out from someone else. I sent my brother a message on Facebook letting him know.
When it comes to my sexuality, I slowly began my coming out process in May 2010. This was when I told the first person I was gay. Just like the process with my parents, it took a long time for me to be able to say that I was gay. It was the night before I left for Alberta for the summer and was spending the night at my soon-to-be roommate’s house in Toronto. Since I would be living with her the next year I figured it was a good time to tell her. After I said there was something I needed to say, it took me about 20 minutes before I actually said the words “I am gay”.
This is the first time that I have publicly announced that I am gay, as I have always believed that it does not matter what your sexuality is and that the whole world does not need to know. It is you and your personal life. Little did I know that only four months later I would have a devastating accident that caused me to change my whole life. Due to this injury, I was unable to control the way in which people found out about my sexuality. At the time of my accident, my boyfriend and I had been together three months and had known each other for two years. As he was younger than me, I said to him that he did not sign up for this and that I would be okay with ending our relationship if that is what he wanted. He did not want that and spent every day by my side for the next five months. I could not have asked for a better support system than him and my family.
I am now at the point in my life where I want all of my cards to be laid out on the table, and that is why I have decided to write this letter. I am a gay, ventilator-dependent quadriplegic, which poses its own issues considering that the gay community is very set on looks and body image. I do not have a six-pack and I need twenty-four seven care, making it very difficult to build a relationship with someone when there is constantly a third wheel. However, this has not stopped me from trying.
As all of you who know me personally know that I live my life to the fullest and I do not let anything stop me from doing so. This disability has made life a little bit more difficult but it has not taken my life away from me and has allowed me to continue on with the things I love to do. Over the past 5 ½ years I have learned that there are many things in life that make certain things difficult and a lot of people I find tend to give up in hard times. That is not who I am, I have been at my lowest points in life and I have been at my highest points in life over the past little while and it is time to share my life with everyone and showcase that no matter what struggles you have as long as you push forward and persevere you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.