Happy Month Of June! I know we are well into this month but ya girl was busy! Anyways, I love June for many reasons, one it's kinda nice out ( NY weather is bi-polar), two it is the start of summer, and three it's PRIDE month. For those of you who don't know much about me, PRIDE month is something that has recently become something that I look forward to every year. It's not just the colorful flags and signs and happy people around that make this month so special but rather it's a month to celebrate the influence the LGBT community has on the world and more importantly my friends and family who are a part of that community!
To bring more light to this beautiful month, I thought that I would share something on a more personal (Rae Chow) level.
THE INSPIRAETION FANS, meet my brother Ryan.
RYAN meet The INSPIRAETION FANS.
RAE: So sis, how do you identify yourself?
RY: I identify as Gay, but my sexuality doesn't define who I am.
RAE: When did you first realize that you were attracted to the same sex?
RY: I realized I was attracted to the same sex when I was starting college. In the back of my mind, I think I always knew I was different from the societal norm, but never really came to terms with my sexuality until I was graduated from college.
RAE: Did you try to fight it ? Ignore it? Embrace it ?
RY: Until I was able to accept myself, I think I was always trying to ignore my sexuality. In high school, I would always say i was focused on getting into college and NOT dating. In college, I would say I was focusing on graduating and finding a job. When I finally graduate college and starting working, I would say I want to focus on my career and NOT my love life.
RAE: Did any of your friends and family know, before you officially told them?
RY: I don't think my family knew before I told them. They might have had suspicions because I never really expressed any interest in dating when it seemed like so many other people in my life were dating. I think my closest friends all knew but wanted to let me bring it up to them on my own terms. There was never any pressure to come out, I always respected that about my family and friends.
RAE: What were you most afraid of? Why?
RY: I think I was most afraid about rejection. Even though I knew it was an irrational fear that I would get rejected by my family or friends. Being 100% honest about who I was scared me because that required me to be vulnerable. I used to feel that being vulnerable was a sign of weakness, but it's actually the opposite because it shows strength and confidence.
RAE: What made you decide to come out? Why at that time?
RY: I decided to come out December 8th, 2015 to my best friend Kelly. Mentally and emotionally I was going through a lot that had me being very self-reflective. Yep you guessed it...a break-up. But it was my own choice to end things and to finally deal with my own issues I had my sexuality, not anyone else's decision. It was typical weeknight dinner that wasn't planned. Maybe it was because I had listened to All To Well by Taylor Swift enough times that day, but I knew I was ready to finally tell someone my biggest secret.
When we sat down for dinner, I told myself I'd tell Kelly when we ordered drinks. We both order dirty vodka martinis and I still didn't say anything. Then I told myself I'd tell her when we got our appetizers. The spinach and artichoke dip came out, still nothing. When our entrees finally came out, that's when I knew it was now or never. So I told her the 2 words I had told myself in the mirror 100s of times. "I'm gay".
I don't think there's ever the best time to come out to the world. To some people saying it over barbecue ribs at Hillstone might not be the best time. But I knew it was the right time for me because it was not when but who I was telling my news to.
RAE: Were the reactions similar to what you expected? or different?
RY: Shortly after that I think I came out to everyone who was important to me over the span of 2 weeks. It felt like I was ripping off a bandaid. The reactions I got were all positive, which is what I expected.
RAE: Is life different or the same after you have come out?
RY: Life has been amazing since I've come out. I think one of the biggest changes I've seen in my relationships with other people is that I'm able to connect with them on a level that goes beyond the surface. I feel like I can finally just be 100% authentically me.
RAE: What advice do you give to those who are struggling with coming out ?
RY: Do it when you feel it's right for you. I promise you that there will always people there to support you, even when you feel you are faced with only opposition.
RAE: If you could say one thing to the straight community on how they treat/act towards the gay community what would it be?
After my brother came out to his best friend, he came in to talk to me shortly after ( I think that same weekend). At the time, I didn't know that I was the first one in the family that he was telling. I was obviously just lounging in my room on Netflix and my phone, when he came in to tell me about his weekend. My attention span was 1/2 on my Netflix + phone and 1/2 on the story he was telling. As he continued to tell me about his weekend, I would give the appropriate nods, and "oh cools" periodically. It wasn't until he said "Rae, I need to tell you something important" was when I decided to put the phone and ipad down (damn millennials right?). The next words out of his mouth were two that I'll never forget. He said, "I'm Gay". For a girl who doesn't even have the slightest poker face, I'm pretty sure that my face gave away my reaction before words could come out of my mouth. Thoughts that ran through my head: overwhelmed with joy and excitement and questions....LOTS and LOTS of questions. Being one of the first people that my brother told, made me feel happy. Happy that he felt comfortable telling me a secret that he's been holding in and even happier that he is finally being unapologetically himself.
So cheers to being humans! And cheers to me permanently having a "Sis".