Coming from a big Irish Catholic family, coming out was absolutely terrifying. I knew I was gay since I was in 2nd grade. I attended Catholic school my entire life, which put more pressure on me to hide my sexuality. In high school, I began exploring my sexuality for the first time and secretly had my first boyfriend. I joined the football team with hopes that no one would ever find out about the real Pat Long, but something about me always gave off a gay vibe, especially to the bullies. My senior year of high school I quit the team because of the bullying. My love for the sport was destroyed by harsh mean words from some teammates. To make matters worse, my first love moved away to another state. Trying to stay in touch with him was hard due to cell phones at the time charged for out of state calls. My father later asked about my phone bill and who I was talking to in Florida. Before I could even answer, he already knew because he had called the number and demanded answers. I was forced out of the closet.
It was hard for my parents at first, but the toughest judge would be my grandfather. I told both him and my grandmother at dinner with my aunt and uncle, and he removed himself from the table. I followed him outside a short time later and his words to me were “you are my oldest grandson, I love you no matter what.” Coming out is hard, but at the end of the day, it’s worth it. You are finally free to be you. People might surprise you with their acceptance and if they don’t, do not fear. The LGBTQ community is big and loving and will help you with anything you need.
National Coming Out Day 2018