Denial is the first stage of grief.

It’s also often the first response to realizing that one is homosexual.

Acceptance is the last stage of grief, if one ever does get there. The same goes for the discovery of one’s homosexuality.

It’s not that homosexuality is a form of grief. Grief just deals with loss, and I guess that in a world where people are indoctrinated into believing that heterosexuality is the only normal, it’s easy to understand how young children who look for their heterosexuality and do not find it might react as one does to loss – with the five stages of grief.

It is for denial’s sake that for as long as I’ve lived, I’ve always been sure that people who say, “Homosexuality is a choice” were full of shit – because denial wouldn’t exist in a world where people actually went, like, “Ooh! What sexuality am I choosing on this questionnaire? Homosexuality? Cool. Let’s go with this.”

This internal turmoil would not exist.

Almost every gay person remembers their denial phase. That realization that you’re different and the guilt that followed. The prayers to your deity of choice. Lubricated words repeated until your knees were sore. Only to arise, see a man’s bulge and still get a bit of a rise in your nether regions. Did you feel like you were possessed? Taken over by a spirit of homosexuality that could only be broken by calling your God “Daddy” repeatedly and asking Him to have His way in your life? Did you wish to be anointed and watch the oil roll down your cheeks and dribble onto your chin only to go back home and still find that you’re still gay?

You remember that strange thrill you felt when you looked at a man that made you come alive physically, and the guilt that judged you deep within after the flood of emotions?

I would not date the first man that asked me out because I’d convinced myself that this was just a phase and that agreeing to be his boyfriend was the death knell that would make me gay.

You see the folly.

Denial is a bitch.

But it doesn’t stop there.

There are 4 other stages of grief after all.

I call the three in the middle “The Wilderness.”

Anger, Bargaining and Depression. They’re a life-sapping maze within which so many people get lost for so long in their lives.

Do you remember the anger? Mine was at God combined with anger in general. Anger at myself for what I perceived was my weakness, at the world, at everything. You see, I was 8 when I realized that I was different. It was a lot to process. I could not understand what all of it meant.

I felt alone, one rainbow dot in a homogenously brown world. After pretending that this was just in my mind and praying and fasting ceaselessly for God to take this away to no avail, I grew angry. It was hard not to. I mean, what sort of deity does this to a child, all the while laying out a set of principles on why your whole expression is basically a taboo?

How can You say You love me and do this to me?

I mean, who does that?

Then came the bargaining: I thought, “Lord, if you take this away, I would dedicate my life to your service.” I thought maybe if I actively dated girls, it would counter that part of me and suppress it, hopefully permanently. I thought so many different things. One by one, they all failed. Every single way in which I planned to de-gay myself. One by one, until I ran out of options.

And then, like a flood, depression hit.

There’s something paradoxically calming about the way depression takes you. It engulfs you and lets you bask in it, all the while sapping your life force. Like sleeping on a comfortable cloud, all the while dying of hypoxia because clouds exist tens of thousands of meters above and you can’t really breathe up there. But still, it’s comfortable…and then you die.

I was 12 the first time I decided to commit suicide.

I had been depressed for a while. I hated myself. I felt filthy, unworthy and I was going to hell either way. So I might as well go early. I had it all planned out, how I was going to go. Then some lady went and did it before I did. She died in the way I had intended to. And right there, I saw the aftermath of my death through her eyes and could not go through with it. I would become frustrated with who I was and I’d attempt suicide a few times after. Luckily, I never had the gall to go all the way.

And then, by the most amazing miracle, I reached acceptance.

I mean, I just met the most amazing man and he introduced me to a whole community of people on Facebook who had walked my journey and knew my pain. That feeling of community filled a deep longing in me. That knowledge that I wasn’t a lone mistake was enough to make me accept myself as perfect just the way I was.

You see, when people say that Homosexuality is a choice, they speak chock-full of an ignorance that comes from not understanding a gay person’s reality. The fight to accept oneself in a world that persistently tells you that you’re an abomination. The fight to not internalize all of the mean, hateful words thrown at gay people on the regular.

Some people never win that fight. They get stuck in the wilderness of Internalized Homophobia, rumbling between anger, often at themselves and those gay people confident enough to live their truths, bargaining, and then that depression that comes from doing every single thing they possibly can to not be gay, sleeping off and still waking up gay.

I mean, some never reach acceptance of who they are. And that – that is the real tragedy.

I wake up these days and the world has so much more colour. I’m not alone. I’m alive and I’m truly happy to be.

There’s a peace that comes with accepting oneself. It’s a peace that I hope everyone in the LGBT community finds.

You deserve happiness.

Be utterly shameless in your pursuit of it.

Written by Vhagar

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  1. Gaia
    August 13, 08:20 Reply

    What a Journey… you just reminded me of too many stuffs. It’s good you’ve reached the end of the Journey tho!

  2. Randy Moore
    August 13, 09:58 Reply

    I guess it’s safe to say that I’m not only one that went on this journey. All 4 stages and suicide. We all deserve happiness after all that. Thank you, Vhagar, for telling my story. ☺️

  3. Marley
    August 13, 16:44 Reply

    Damn. I can relate. I’m really grateful to be alive in this digital age. Even if I’m surrounded by homophobes at home, I can get on twitter and find millions of people like.

  4. Gad
    August 14, 07:40 Reply

    I bet this is how we all started..thanks for sharing your journey…I support the saying that someone is born gay naturally…I didn’t choose to be gay ..I was born gay

    • Wonda Buoy
      August 20, 07:55 Reply

      Where have you been? Can we exchange contacts through PP?

  5. Law
    August 15, 13:14 Reply

    I attempted suivide 4times and i almost succeeded the kast time. Its been a crazy journey. But we are HERE!!

    • Patrick
      August 17, 08:26 Reply

      Hi Law,
      Been a while you commented. Glad to know that you have conquered those dark days. Your story about your friend’s suicide in school got me in a funk for several days. I had never felt that way before. Could you ask PP to give me your details? Thanks.

      About the write-up, I think it helped that I became fully aware of my sexuality relatively late (17 years and fresh into the University), and I was never really taunted like many of the more effeminate guys. I did the whole praying-the-gay-away thing but of course it didn’t work. In the University, I buried my head in my books; I might as well have been asexual because I neither knew nor met any gay person.
      It was only when I got out of school that I began to feel intense same-sex attraction. But by this time, I didn’t feel any anger or grief. And there was no real depression (I’m naturally melancholic).

    August 16, 11:01 Reply

    Your description of the depression is so spot on. Engulfs u and u enjoy the pain and sadness and sink even deeper and feel even more sad with more pain. Thankfully, all that is in the past.

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