Being Gay Was Fine With My Family — But Not ‘Acting’ Gay

It takes consistent effort to remind other Black men that we are more than our gender

James Woods
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Photo: Olu Famule/Unsplash

II came out to my family in 2015. At the time, the Supreme Court was about to make the historic vote that would legalize gay marriage for millions of queer people in America.

Coming out for me was not painful or challenging. I had history on my side: My family already had several members who identified as gay. So it came as no real shock when they welcomed me with open arms. I thought the hardest part of coming out would be stating my truth—but as I learned, the real challenge would be living that truth.

He accepted my gayness because I fit the bill of what made straight men comfortable. I wasn’t flamboyant, and I didn’t bring feminine men around the family.

The first time was at my brother’s graduation party. My cousin decided to congratulate me for not “acting like a girl.” “You have all these guys who are gay and just act like women,” he said. “They wear dresses and don’t even act like guys anymore. I’m glad you aren’t wearing dresses and makeup. You don’t make anyone uncomfortable, and that is a good thing.”

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James Woods
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I’m not afraid to challenge the status quo. Editor-in-chief of Perceive More! Find me at https://perceive.substack.com too.