National Coming Out Day: My Coming Out Story

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IMG_2394National Coming Out Day (NCOD) is an internationally observed civil awareness day celebrating individuals who publicly identify as a gender or sexual minority. The holiday is observed in a wide variety of ways: from rallies and parades to information tables in public spaces. Participants often wear pride symbols such as pink triangles and rainbow flags.

I am aware that there are many in the world who cannot express freely who they are or who they want to be. We have individuals who are homeless, being bullied, beaten and even murdered for trying to live their authentic life. For those of us who are living freely and openly, we should not take one day for granted!

Today (NCOD) I want to share my coming out story:

As I was growing up, I did not like the things that many of the boys in my neighborhood liked. I was not a fan of football, basketball or baseball, I was not really attracted to girls, I preferred to hang with the girls (as friends) and I was not a rough little boy.  Because of this, I always felt a little weird growing up.

As I started growing older, much did not change. All through elementary and high school, I was always called names because I hung out with mostly girls, I did not play the typical boy sports, my voice was not deep and I was not really a masculine guy. I was just me: a pretty good student, non- confrontational and easy to get along with.

In ninth or tenth grade, I had a girlfriend and our relationship lasted for about eight or nine years. We even talked about marriage and kids. But all along I knew that being married to a woman was not what I wanted. So in 1992, I ended the relationship. It was very hard to do but at that point, I adopted one of the tenets I have lived by ever since: be honest and treat people how you want to be treated.

A year or two later, I was ready to live my life as a gay man. I prayed about it and knew I had to tell my mother. Even though I lived only about five to ten minutes away from her, I was scared to have the conversation in-person, so I wrote her a letter and put it in the mail. I knew it would most likely get there the next day, so every time the phone rang, I thought it was her. We finally spoke and it wasn’t a completely easy conversation, it also wasn’t my worst. She was a little disappointed that I did not come to her in-person because she felt that we had a close relationship.  She ended our conversation saying, “You are my son and I will always love you.”

I know that many struggle with coming out, but I feel the pressure of coming out the supposed “right” way can often take precedence over what is a very personal process. I have always said, “As long as my mother and God know, I am good.” Whatever feels right to the person coming out is exactly how he or she should come out. There isn’t some standard; it’s personal. In the end, what should dictate the process of someone coming out is the same for anything else in life: be true to yourself; as long as you do that, things will always be just as they should.”

Happy National Coming Out Day!!

27 thoughts on “National Coming Out Day: My Coming Out Story

  1. Your coming out story is awesome. Shawn I have known you since elementary school, middle and high school.. Growing up together in the same neighborhood. You are a wonderful person inside and out. Stay true to yourself and keep doing what makes Shawn happy!

    1. Thank you so much Ericka! I’m not sure you know how much your love and support has meant to me. Its partly because of your support that I am able to be the man that I am! God is good! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!! xoxoxoxo

  2. I am so glad to have known you most of my life. You have always been a beautiful spirit and grown into a SPECTACULAR HUMAN! I wish nothing but happiness in your life! Continue to do what you do and we will continue to enjoy and learn from your peace!!

    1. Thanks so much Kim! Having a great support system can really make a world of difference. My journey has been great and I love it! Much love to you!! xoxoxo

  3. I am so glad that I am one of the girls (as friends) in the neighborhood that had the opportunity to have met you and sit on the front porch talking and playing games. As an adult I cherish your opinion and find you a wonderful inspiration. I can’t wait for Sharron and I to come visit and Turn Up. I love you.

    1. OMG Yolanda we had some great times on that porch and talking on the corner by the alley! Gosh, such great memories. Thanks so much for your ongoing love and support! Come on so we can get the party started!! xoxoxo

  4. Shawn V. Branch, I am honored to to call you my friend and your courage to live your truth is simply beautiful.

    Well done MY FRIEND!!!

    STAY BLESSED AND WALK IN IT..!!!

    1. Thanks Troy! Being grounded in my faith and having great friends and family has made my journey pretty darn awesome! Thanks for your words and support, I really appreciate it!

  5. Thanks for sharing your story Shawn. I remember the good times we shared at Montgomery Ward. I loved watching you zip around and get the ads set. God Bless and stay strong. Next time I’m in Cali or you in AZ we must grab a hike or a bite. Luv ya,
    Toi

  6. Shawn, since high school, you have ALWAYS made me smile because you are a great FRIEND! You are trusted the timing of your life….

    1. Thanks Lisa! Its amazing that the friendships that developed at Poly are still there! Your love and friendship is greatly appreciated! xoxoxo

  7. Bravo my friend! You are and have always been special to me! It’s about unconditional love and friendship and that’s what we share! My life motto is treat people the way you want to be treated. That’s how I try to view every aspect, every situation, and every relationship in my life! You are the real deal and I’m so very proud of you! Love you ALWAYS! ❤️

    1. Thank you so much Glynnis! I feel that one of things I’ve always tried to be is consistent. What you see is what you get, I can only be ME! Thanks for your love and friendship over the years! I can always count on you!! xoxoxo

  8. Thank you for this wonderful share my friend. It is truly a blessing to be our authentic selves; one none of us should take lightly. You are an inspiration!

  9. Thanks for sharing, Shawn! This is a beautiful story, and I’m honored to know you 🙂

  10. You are my brother and I have always known your spirit. I am very proud of the man you have become and I will ALWAYS love you. BIg Sis

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