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When I came to this point, several things happened simultaneously. I felt a great weight lifted, at no longer believing that so many people would have an eternity in Hell. I also became deeply depressed. I was and still am worried about the prospect of alienating myself from my family and friends who believe differently. I also felt that I had lost my purpose in life. We both know that the world and humanity is beautiful in many ways, but that the world is also a very dark place. There is evil. For a period, I very much did not want to be alive anymore. I knew then and I know now how selfish that feeling is. I have never considered ending my life to be an option. It did not take long, before I figured out my purpose. Simply, it is to contribute what I can to the good things in the world, to work against evil, to love others. Of course I will never be anywhere near as good and loving person as I want to be. But since that time, I have tried to live my life, with the aim of accomplishing those goals. I want to do the best I can with the time I have on this earth. I honestly don't know for sure what will happen when my time on earth ends, but I am okay with that. I should say that I still have the utmost respect for people who are strong in their faith. I think religion and and Christianity in particular, has many positive aspects.

The first time I spoke to any family about this, was when I visited with my Dad and Step-mom in July 2012. It was very painful, to tell them that I was distancing myself, from the beliefs of my whole family. I could tell they were deeply saddened, I shared with them many of the things I am sharing with you in this letter. There is still some pain there. Regardless, they know I will always love them, and I know they will always love me. I was still not able to share with them anything regarding the way I was experiencing my sexuality.

I chose to wait to discuss these things with my Mom, until I saw her in person at thanksgiving 2012. I had a similar experience in my conversation with her. At the conclusion, she was convinced that my views would change as I grew older and wiser. So far they haven't, but I don't know what will happen in the future. That trip would have been a prime opportunity to start this conversation with you. Again, I deeply regret, that I was too afraid to do so.

After that I returned to Texas, I continued to stay busy working. I still hated the fact that I was attracted to guys rather than girls. I continued pushing those thoughts to the back of my brain. I was convinced I would be single for the rest of my life. At the end of 2012, I went to South America for a month. Overall it was a great trip, I very much enjoyed the time with my Dad, Step-mom, brother and sister. At one point my step-mom was asking if I had met any nice girls in Texas. I said I had not. I used the excuse of being busy. Out of the blue, she asked me half jokingly if I were gay? I knew the answer. I looked her in the eyes and lied. "Of course not!" I said.

In January 2013, I returned to Texas. I continued to be very busy with work. The thoughts and feelings I pushed deep down inside did not go away. They continued to grow stronger. I was miserable a lot of the time. I came to realize that this part of me, was likely not going to change. I knew, that if I tried hard enough, I could keep it hidden for the rest of my life. That is exactly what my pride wanted me to do. I also knew that if I did so, I would stunt my growth as a person, and I would never be happy. By June of 2013, I came to a decision, to accept my sexuality for what it is, to no longer hate this part of myself. I do not believe it to be morally wrong in any way. I realize that plenty of people will disagree with me on that point. I am perfectly happy to agree to disagree. I still spoke to no one about my feelings.

I decided that the first person I wanted to come out to would be my Mom. I know she loves me unconditionally, but I was still very worried about what her reaction would be. I would be telling her something that I had kept secret for years, for no better reasons, than pride and fear. My Plan was tell her when I went to visit for Thanksgiving. I knew we would have good time for discussion during the drive out to Oklahoma for your birthday celebration. During the time we had together, all the chances for me to start the discussion came and went. I could still not overcome my pride and fear. I still very much regret giving up that opportunity.

When that trip was over, I was back in Texas, I was super busy again with work. I knew this was something that I needed to discuss with my Mom sooner rather than later. I worried that I would not be able to adequately express my feelings and experiences through a phone conversation. I chose instead to initiate the discussion through a letter. That is a decision that I regret deeply. I wrote the letter. I tried to explain things clearly and I tried to assure my Mom that she didn't need to worry. I told her that i only wanted to use the letter as a beginning for ongoing conversation, via phone. I got a phone call the following evening. She was able to maintain composure, but I could tell she was deeply worried, disturbed and surprised. In the time that passed from reading my letter, to our phone call, she had imagined and worried about all kinds of horrible scenarios, none of which were true. I very much wish that I had had the courage to tell her face to face, so she didn't have to worry that way.

Things have gotten much better since then. Obviously I still love her and she still loves me. We have agreed to disagree, regarding the morality of homosexuality. I know she is more concerned with me returning to Christianity, than she is with my sexuality.

After this, I knew I needed to come out to my Dad and Step-mom. My sister and I and I would be travelling to South America, to see them for a week at Christmas. I knew that this was something I wanted to tell them in person. I dreaded the thought of making Christmas time so stressful for everyone, but I don't get to see them very often, so I knew it was what I needed to do. My sister and I arrived on Christmas eve, we all celebrated Christmas together, and had a good time. I decided I would tell them the day after Christmas. I asked my Dad and Step-mom if we could go for a walk, and discuss some things. They seemed a little concerned. I was sick to my stomach. We walked a little ways, in silence and sat together on a park bench. Of course they wanted to know what I wanted to discuss. I sat for a moment, swallowed hard and simply said "I wanted to tell you, I am more attracted to men than to women." Their looks went far away and we all sat silently. I started to tear up. Of course they both said they love me no matter what. Then, immediately they tried convincing me I was mistaken. They were utterly taken aback. They were understandably hurt, that I had kept something like this a secret for so long. I apologized. We debated somewhat heatedly for a few minutes. That was the end of the conversation. We walked back to the house and agreed to talk some more the next day. I felt pretty relieved, but also apprehensive of what would come the next day.

The next morning, my Dad woke me up at 5. He asked to go out walking. So we did. He had been awake all night, thinking, praying, reading and researching. We talked for several hours. I shared more about what I had experienced in the previous nine or ten years. He talked about many of his formative experiences. We debated the morality of homosexuality from Christian and secular perspectives. It was all challenging and somewhat painful, but in a very good way. Our conversation turned toward Christianity which was still my Dad's primary concern. That was probably the best conversation I have ever had with my Father regarding faith. I learned that many of his beliefs are different from what I had assumed them to be. Later that day, I had a similar long conversation with my step-mom. I know they will both always love me, they want me to be happy, and that they are more concerned with my faith than with my sexuality. Since that time, we have a had a few more good discussions regarding these matters.

I can only say, that in the past year, my life has been profoundly more happy and peaceful. I have started to be open about my sexuality among my friends. It has not really been a big deal for anyone. Gaining acceptance has been rewarding. Obviously I still have lots of things to work through, but I am in a much better place emotionally and mentally. If you have read this far, I hope you don't feel hurt that I have chosen to share these things in writing rather than in person. I still wish that I had been willing to discuss many of these things years ago. I just feel that our conversation may be more fruitful, if I can lay things out ahead of time. I want you to know, that I very much value your views, beliefs, opinions and advice. Regardless of how much they may differ from my own.

I would very much value your counsel, as I decide how and when I should share this aspect of myself with family members. I feel that I owe it to my loved ones to be open and honest, even if I am late in doing so. I hope you and Grandma know that I love you so much, and that I consider myself fortunate to have the family I do. I want to continue to be part of my family for the rest of my life. The way I feel will not change, regardless of how much our beliefs may differ.

Much Love,

Here is the response I received today:

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