“Today I am happier than I have ever been. I can breathe in the open air! I can look myself in the mirror without any regret”
by Austin Kempton
Originally posted on Austin’s blog. Reposted with the author’s permission.
On the night of May 13, 2008, I told my father that I was gay. He told my mother later that night. It was not until two or three weeks later that they actually associated the word “gay” with me, rather than just saying that I had “experimented.”
This year has been quite the journey. That first month in and of itself was turbulent. I crawled out of the closet and had my first real look at myself. I actually called myself gay for the first time out loud, and no lightning came to strike me down. I was excited to share the feelings and thoughts that I’d been isolating in my head. I was dramatically depressed about not being able to serve a mission.
The rest of the year slowly got better. I wanted to change so bad and be the “normal LDS young man” and marry a woman. I went to therapy and got my hopes up. Shortly after starting, I realized it wasn’t going to work. I’d signed up to CHANGE, and all they could promise me was for my gay feelings to “go down” and to “create” feelings for the opposite gender.
I wanted to quit therapy right then and there in that moment of realization, but therapy offered me something else. Not change, but a time to talk about my feelings in a non-judgmental environment. I had no one to talk to till then. My family didn’t get it, or want to hear about it. I knew no gays (let alone gay Mormons). So even talking about the “negative” aspects of homosexuality with a therapist was still talking and I was able to get my feelings out in the open.
But I had just come out of the closet, and I was being asked to step back in. It was traumatic. There were a few times that I just had to sneak out it. This life of hiding and sneaking was miserable and unhealthy.
After nine months of therapy, I came out again. This time I was running out of the closet. I’m so grateful for all of the friends that helped me get there.
Today I am happier than I have ever been. I can breathe in the open air! I can look myself in the mirror without any regret. I don’t worry about letting people see who I really am.
I know God. He loves me.