Growing up in a semi-traditional way parts of my life always confused me. I was raised to be a strong heterosexual cisgendered male, and well that did not work out like my father intended. My mother was and is a supportive mother, always accepted me for what I was even before I knew what I was. I could always tell that from a young age my father favored my brothers and that is not a bad thing at all I hold no malice by telling all this.  I was something new; something he never had come across a gay man. And if he did he was raised in a strict off the boat Italian family so there weren’t many options to having gay friends or family members for that matter. I do not believe on my father’s side of the family there are any openly gay men or women. And for many fathers when they realize they have a gay son it is a lot for them to handle.  Let alone a son that shares the same first and last name as his.  Like I said there is no bad blood between my father and I, we just don’t have a close relationship like my brothers and him have.  He isn’t to blame nor am I. I did shut myself off from him because I thought that would have been easier.  My father has come a long way from when I was younger, he was close minded and in some ways he still is but it is a generational gap.  He voted for Obama in his second election which is something very surprising for me when I heard this and he has opened up his mind to many other things as well, he tells my mother that he is struggling accepting the fact that I am a gay man, but he still loves me unconditionally and that is all I really need from him. Life is a growing game and we all have a lot of growing to do.  Growing up the oldest of 3 brothers was also quite different. I was never into sports nor was I good at them. My younger brothers particularly the middle brother was great at sports. I tried my hand at basketball once and I was never any good. Nick he could pick up any sport and be great at it, it is just something he was always good at. Give me a paint brush and we are in business that was what I did. I painted, drew, you name it. My brain always worked in a unique way. I was always into very unique things growing up. I remember buying books on witchcraft and palm reading (Which is now a great party trick and a good ice breaker), I always was more into artwork and learning then I was into sports and working out. I don’t think that has anything to do with being gay, I think it just has a lot to do with me being lazy.  Now for my mother’s side, they are also old fashioned but not my mother, she prides herself on being a supporter of LGBTQ, Women’s rights, etc. She is always supportive of me and who I leave even if I have yet to tell her about (They all already know, so why disclose any further).  My moms parents are also pretty old fashioned. They may not agree with gay marriage but I know they love me and my other gay relatives unconditionally. It is a change for them too coming from a generation where being gay was a mental illness and was never talked about to living in a world where being gay is something people are proud of and it is more accepted.  We are still fighting for basic fundamental human rights, like love. I believe politics should stay out of the bedroom and while we are here I believe politicians should also stay out of the bedroom and not reproduce, well the stupid ones at least (Yes, Chris Christie and Rick Santorum I am looking at you oh and there are too many more to write so ill just pick on you both for now).  We have bigger fish to fry then worrying about preventing the happiness of others. But back on track to my family life: My grandparent’s will support me in whatever I decide to do, and I know they will because they have always supported everyone in our family and who I love should not and will not be a barrier for them.  Like I said earlier Life is a growing game and we are all playing it. I have not always been this open about who I am because I was still growing and learning how to live in a skin that at the time felt foreign to me. I didn’t have time to figure out who I was in high school because before I could decide I was bullied into believing I was a faggot. I was told this from 7th to 12th grade. Things got so bad that I had to threaten the aggressors that I would take legal action.  Most people who know me knew I was a fighter. I never let anyone bring me down because why should I? I was stronger than them and I knew it. I am more a man than those people who tried to bring me down.  I also did not come out in high school because why the fuck should I? No one said I had too, I was still figuring out this skin I was born into.  I never was subtle about being a supporter of LGBTQ rights, posting articles on Facebook, etc. I always had openly gay friends and no one ever questioned it and there is nothing abnormal about having gay friends when you are straight. My best friends are all straight back home and they love me no less and no more than they love any of their other friends.  It was not easy coming out to my straight friends. I came out to my best friend Shaun about 2 years ago before I left for college and I cried telling him thinking the worst, his response was, “So? Oh do you like my new watch I just got?” And that was that. I then came out to Andy and John about 6 months ago at a bar when we were all drunk visiting John at Marist. Their reactions were also as just very normal. Both of them just validated that they wanted me to be happy and we moved on. I now can openly discuss who I am seeing (if I am seeing anyone).  I remember we were going to a frat party and I didn’t have 5$ to get into the party and one of the frat guys was like, “Here man I got you covered.” *Super macho voice* They all turned to me when I got in and just laughed and called me a slut and we just laughed and moved on.  I have never felt more normal in my life. I am free to be who I am now. I now live in one of the best cities in the world, Chicago. Where I am more open than I have ever been.  So I guess this is my officially unofficial way of coming out to those who didn’t already know? I hope that you enjoyed this and I hope someone somewhere reads this and finds some sort of acceptance for themselves and they know they are not alone.