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    What It Was Like Growing Up Gay

    From a closeted, scared, and confused boy to an out, happy, and proud man. You've come a long way.

    Before you even knew you were gay, you knew there was something special about you.

    There was something about you that set you apart from most of your friends.

    It was like you were interested in different things than they were.

    When all of the guys in your grade were really into girls... were more interested in grocery store checkout stand workout magazines...$(KGrHqVHJFIF!8E+vphKBQZcTLUWEQ~~60_57.JPG

    ...and all the men's underwear ads that came in the mail.

    But it wasn't like you were gay. No. Not at all.

    Because you liked girls.

    Frank Micelotta / Getty Images

    No, seriously, like, you dated them and stuff.

    But secretly, you kind of wished you could date their brothers.

    But you weren't gay! It was just a phase or something and it was totally going to go away.

    Except it never did.

    You liked looking at cute guys on TV.

    And you got butterflies in your stomach every time you talked to a really cute guy.

    And you had that one friend who you wish felt the same way about you that you did about him.

    So you started to wonder if you really were gay.

    And you started talking to guys online.

    And you were horrified anytime your dad searched for something that started with a "g."

    Eventually, you met other guys like you.

    And it was exhilarating because you weren't pretending anymore.

    But you still had to tell your friends and family your biggest secret.

    And it was important for you to do because they learned that being gay wasn't as scary as they thought.

    And all the girls who thought you were the perfect guy finally learned why they could never get you.

    But most importantly, you learned that the people who really loved you still loved you no matter what.

    And you should never be ashamed of being yourself.