CJ, 19, Macon, GA

I told my grandmother I was gay last year and she made her religious convictions about it apparent, but she said it wouldn’t change the fact that she’d still love me. My grandmother’s always been one of the role models of my life, but I didn’t want her to change her morals just because I was gay. If she did that, then she could change them for any reason. But I understand her reasons, and I’m thankful she’s still supportive and still loving. We’ll have to agree to disagree on that one.

I go to a Baptist church and to the Reformed University Fellowship on campus. I identify as Christian. I view the Bible as encouraging love and compassion for all. Those morals are the same. That’s more important to me than one or two Bible verses that condemn same-sex relationships.

I don’t hang out with that many gay people. I hang out with people who are gay-friendly. Since there was no controversy when I came out freshman year, I’ve stayed with those friends. I’ve been one time to the gay club in Macon. It’s not exactly my cup of tea.

I do like to hang out with friends and party that way, and I’m very involved on campus. You have professors and get to know everyone on campus. It’s a very active and loving campus.

If I was giving advice to other gays, I’d say it’s important to be self-confident. But I would also say not to advertise it. You don’t have to act straight, but when you meet someone don’t say, “Hi, I’m gay.” When I was meeting gay freshmen last year. I always thought it was weird if that was one of the things they said when they introduced themselves.

Mercer’s small, so everybody knows everybody. It’s a good thing sometimes, but when it comes to dating it’s not a good thing because you’ve known everyone so long. I dated someone freshman year and he moved to Florida, and after that I haven’t found anyone I’m interested in.

My first kiss was weird. Not because it was a guy; it was just weird because I had never kissed anyone before. In high school I was still straight. Well, I wasn’t straight, but I wasn’t out. I had girlfriends in early high school. I was still kind of young.

I went to a really small Georgia high school. The graduating class was 38. High school’s never good for anyone unless you’re a football player or cheerleader, and life’s pretty much over for them after high school. I was asked a million times if I was gay, and I had a cracking voice, so I got picked on for that.

I think people thought I was gay partly because of the voice. Because my high school was so small, you were categorized. I wasn’t the only person thought to be gay. The other people who were thought to be gay weren’t gay. They were just different.

As told to Diana Scholl.
Photo by Laurel Golio, taken at Macon University, Macon, GA, 2010
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