August 30, 2001
To my dear family and friends,
I have planned on sending you this letter for some time now. Actually, my plan was to send you this letter on my birthday earlier this year. My plan was to tell you that I would be giving you a gift for my birthday—the gift of honesty. For the last few years, there has been something that I have wanted to tell you, but I have been too scared to tell you. I finally chose to write it in this letter, which I will start today and give to you at some time in the future. I am sure that it will take at least a few months or maybe longer for me to gather all of my thoughts.
You may be asking yourself why I chose to write to you, instead of telling you in person. I would like to tell you personally, but I get too nervous. I also wanted to be able to express some of my feelings without being interrupted or having to be on the defensive. My intent is to talk with each and every one of you about your questions and concerns. It took me 28 years to get to this point, so I don’t expect you to immediately support me in this decision to tell you the following.
As you know, over the years I have been involved in many different activities. I have been active in religion, schooling, Scouting, family, work, social activities, and with friends. I have been deeply troubled for many years thinking that this would all change if anyone found out my deepest secret: As far back as elementary school (and as far back as I can remember), I have had a same-sex attraction towards men. I used to cry myself to sleep at night asking God to make it stop. I wanted to feel (and be) like my other friends. I wanted to be attracted to girls instead of boys. This situation didn’t improve despite my many hours of deep discussion with God and fighting with myself.
In striving to become a better person, I cannot live with this lie I have been presenting to you any longer. It is and has been unhealthy both for you and myself. I have wanted to leave this life numerous times because of this issue. I thank God that I never had the guts to do anything because that would just have made things worse for those I would have left behind. Over the years, it has hurt me terribly that I have not been able to share this part of my life with you. I finally realized something not too long ago: that I cannot hurt you by expressing to you in words that “I am gay.” If this hurts you, it will be your choice.
The pressure for me is building. I am 28 years old. The trips home are fewer, and I hardly ever stay long when I am there. I know that you are not trying to hurt me, because you had no idea. When the questions of dating and marriage are brought up, it is just too hard to deal with – to have to lie about what is really going on with my life. I found myself making the choice of either telling you how I feel, or distancing myself from you forever. However, I cannot avoid my family or my friends. You mean too much to me. I cannot, nor do I wish to, exclude you from my life. I am your son, brother, grandson, uncle, and friend. That will never change. This is not something that you can talk yourself out of. Trust me! I’ve tried for years. I did not choose this—I am this.
Think about it: Being gay is not a popular thing. Why would someone choose to be persecuted? Do you know the mental torment that I have gone through everyday because of what I believed in and was taught by my religion? I love what I have come to define as God with all my heart, and I have had many heart to heart conversations with Him about this issue. I finally figured out what I was doing wrong—I was always asking him to help me change, instead of asking him to help me understanding my feelings. I never felt better than when I started asking God if I could understand my feelings instead of asking him to change them.
This is what I am. There is no question in my mind. I will still live a happy and successful life. I have a lot of love to give someone, and I know that God won’t deny my sharing it. Many people of the world would like to think that homosexuality is a choice. I am here to tell you that it is not. Please don’t exclude me from your life because of your new knowledge about me. I am the same person that I have always been and always will be. But, of course, the choice is yours.
Erik David Rubright