Alright y’all, this blog post is gonna have a lot of emotions and personal information in it. Please be warned. So, here we go. *deep breaths*

Hi, my name is Michael McGarvey. I am gay. I am a Christian. I love watching shows on Netflix, like Gilmore Girls and Gossip Girl, reading books, like Bob Goff’s Love Does and Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Leviathan and John Green, and working at an assisted living facility. I am a passionate care giver and radical Christian. 

Some of this may not surprise you. My coffee addiction may imply my love of Gilmore Girls, and my  inclusive views in relation to the church may clue in my love of Bob Goff. But, obviously, the surprising thing (for some of you) is my sexuality. Yes, that’s right, you read that right – I am gay. 

What a journey it has been leading up to this; It’s been a wild ride. My story is confusing and hard to talk about in some cases, but I feel comfortable enough to share some of it with you, the internet. Let’s start in a somewhat recent time, the last few months. This summer I attended my first Pride festival with my best friend in tow for support. It was the most exciting, nerve-wracking, and freeing experience I’ve ever had. To be in an environment that accepts you no matter what baggage you bring, no matter how you identify, no matter if you had to lie to get there is freeing. The openness and care-free vibes there rocked my world. I watched my first drag show there. I got tons of free stuff. I bought a flag. I begin to truly feel comfortable in my own skin. I wasn’t worried if my voice sounded gay; I wasn’t worried if the way I was standing seemed feminine. I was myself, truly.  Because of that experience, I began to feel confident in coming out.

Before that, let’s rewind a few years. Middle school *visible cringing* oh, what a time. Awkward side hugs, school dances, and just weird interactions with other people. It was awkward for everyone involved. I think many of us can pinpoint to one experience in middle school that we wish never happened. Mine was when I was an 8th grader. Middle school band trip. Yep. The long bus ride, sleeping in a room with 3 people from band you may or may not like, riding the Tower of Terror for the first time because you finally felt brave enough to ride it and the girl all of the boys liked was on it, the band trip was memorable. What I remember: the picture from the Tower of Terror showing me holding another guy’s hand. As someone who did not really know who they were yet, nor even close to realizing that “hey,  it’s ok to be something other than straight,” that was a death sentence. “Here lies Michael, who got caught holding a boy’s hand. RIP” I promise you it was not some sensual thing to hold a guys hand on the ride; it was me, completely terrified, trying to hold on to anything super tightly. This was the first time I remember denying ever being gay.

Fast forward a few months to August the start of my freshman year of high school. Sometimes people make really stupid decisions, maybe one or two and they move on. Well, I made more than a couple. A few hard talks with my parents later, I made the decision to go to counseling.I also ‘came out’ my parents as bisexual. 

Here’s an example text message chain between my brain and I leading up to that conversation:            ME: Hey, I should tell my parents that I’m gay, right?             BRAIN: You’ll disappoint them if you say that. What about your children?             ME: Kids are gross and needy, have you seen me? I don’t want them.             BRAIN: Ok, well you don’t want them to give up hope on you having them. So, tell them                          you’re bisexual. That way there’s still hope of you marrying a woman and having                          kids with her.              ME: Wow! I hadn’t even thought of that. Thanks, Brain, I know i went to school for some                       reason. (in hindsight using bi as a stepping stone to gay is not the best idea. it really takes away from those who really are bi. we need to stop doing that. step it up, gays!) 

Parents being parents kind of reacted. My mom was gracious, dad too. Although it was awkward afterwards (or at least I thought it was. Mom? Dad?), it was a small sense of relief. After going to therapy for a few sessions, I felt better – more confident, loved, and ready to get back to sleeping in on Saturdays. In December, I started a relationship with a girl, and it lasted 3 months. They were ok. She got me cool Christmas gifts, and it was a lot of fun. But, it didn’t work out. 1) We didn’t talk or see each other outside of school. 2) I was gay and no interest in continuing the relationship. I forget on who broke up with who, but I’m sure either way I was upset. (I’m emotional, OK??)

Let’s fast forward three years to the end of senior year. (Don’t you just love time traveling?) Nothing interesting happened in those three years, so don’t feel like you’re missing out. 

Gosh, senior year (read my first blog post about my letter to my senior friends) went by so fast. From my “LAST FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL” to my last day of clinicals in nursing, the year went from August to April real fast. The year was filled with a lot of personal growth. I told people I was gay. I began to investigate how my faith and my sexuality intermingle. I literally began to deconstruct myself to rebuild as a stronger, more confident person. I spent many nights driving backroads on the phone with friends and mentors talking about my troubles and thoughts, and all they did was pour into me encouragement and love. I am so thankful for those people. When I graduated high school in May, I thought I would tell my parents then. But, no opportunity came up slash I didn’t take advantage of any opportunity (mainly the latter let’s be honest). May came and went. June rolled around: my brother got married, College orientation, wisdom teeth removal, Pride fest, and the acquisition of a life changing flag. 

The best $10 I ever spent. As controversial as it is, I truly believe I was born this way. I didn’t get the option to either be A) straight or B) gay or C) bisexual or D) other. After reading Matthew Vines’ book God and the Gay Christian this semester for a paper I wrote about “The Nashville Statement,” I can confidently say that I was born this way, and it is possible for me to be both gay and a Christian. I don’t have to choose. I don’t have to deny who I am to accept God. Realizing that is freeing. 

On July 14, I came out to my parents. They opened their arms. Hugged me, loved me, and accepted me. We don’t really talk about it, but it is because nothing changed. The Michael who kisses his mom on the head before he leaves to go back to college and the Michael who dressed up with a colander on his head when he was 4 or 5 are the same. My parents have been super great about it all. I am not worried about having to lie to them about who I am anymore. It’s so freeing. 

To people who may read this as they’re thinking about coming out, do it. There’s no better feeling in the world than not having the heavy burden on your shoulders anymore. For those who are reading this and thinking “saw that coming,” good job, your gaydar works. 🙂 For those who want to talk, please reach out. I am more than happy to talk to you about this. Why have a story if you’re not gonna share it? 

Thank you, friends and family, for standing by my side these past years. It means so much to me. It meant so much to me in the dark times when you didn’t even know what was going on inside.

Happy National Coming Out Day. I hope those

who are struggling with their sexuality today find comfort in knowing that there is a community out there ready to accept you with open arms and will love you unconditionally.

I love all of you. You are loved. You are important. Your story is important. xoxo, michael mcgarvey

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