Out of the closet
Sam, who also requested his real name not be used, graduated from Enid High School in 2006, and has chosen to remain in his hometown.
Sam said he knew from a young age he was “different,” and by age 15 he knew he was gay.
He said the personal revelation of his sexual orientation drove him into a deep depression.
“It was a shock,” he said. “I have older brothers and they’ve always brought home girlfriends. It was depressing to me. I really went into a depressed state at that time. Being gay wasn’t something you heard about in Enid, America.”
Sam said he was depressed because he felt he had to hide his identity from his family, and because he feared they would reject him.
“I’ve always had a close family,” he said. “We’ve never kept secrets from each other. That was a secret I kept, and I feared they wouldn’t want to be around me after they found out because of the jokes and the slurs I had heard around my house.”
He kept his sexual orientation a secret from his family until after he graduated from high school. His family didn’t find out he was gay until someone outside the family called his home and revealed the secret.
In spite of being “forced out of the closet,” Sam said the process “went better than I had ever hoped it could go.”
“It turned out my family was very accepting of it,” he said. “My whole family knows. I have a long-term partner, and he attends holidays with us.”
Sam said coming out was a relief after it was done.
“It was a relief for me, and it brought me closer to my family than I could have ever been staying in the closet.”