Every gay guy ponders coming out. Most do it, eventually. Then there are those of us who have HIV. We have to do it twice.
When I came out as gay I felt like it was an essential truth that had to be known to those who loved me. It was none of their business in a sexual sense, but in an identity affirming sense. And I imagine having a boyfriend and bringing them home, just like I would a girlfriend, and have the support of those I loved in loving who I loved.
Eventually being out as gay also became important to me because I wanted the confidence in my own identity to assist others who were gay, lesbian or, indeed, anyone with anything that is different to the norm.
Coming out as HIV Positive was different. It doesn’t feel like it is part of my identity – there’s no one to bring home. I came out as a HIV Positive person to help educate others about what it means to be HIV Positive, to help with stigma and to help others who are HIV Positive in my life be more accepting and confident in themselves. Now this all sounds a bit wanky, but I’m just being honest. So much has happened to me. Actually, no, what’s happened is I have made some wrong choices – they didn’t just happen. And I feel I can help others make better choices through my own mistakes. I have no regrets. That’s a powerful feeling, and I feel it can help empower others.
I’m not proud of being gay. I’m not proud of being HIV Positive. I am proud that I try my hardest to be true to myself. And I’m Gay and HIV Positive.