In the summer of 2007 I was with a group of HTM students and two Professors in Switzerland, I had traveled before with a group to Australia and that was when I developed a love for travel and I learned how fun it was to travel in a group. The group that went to Switzerland was really amazing, we never really formed cliques and we came together as a whole group a lot. One person stood out to me that kept to himself a lot. At this time I was still a very closed person so I in a way related to him and I was attracted to this guy in both a physical and mental way. What was also happening at this time was I had reached my peak of disparity of being in the closet. I had grown further from god and was beginning to even get spiteful of him. I had met so many great people but to them I felt I was just the generous, sweet boy that was called when someone needed something but never to just hang out with and why would they I never really shared anything personal.
I tried to get to know that guy and was eventually seen as clingy to be hanging around and I eventually got to the point where I annoyed him. This was pretty much the last straw; I was tired of trying to overcome this so called struggle at the cost of apparently being no one significant to anyone not my friends back in the states and not to anyone in the group, no one knew me because I barely knew myself too much off my effort was spent putting down my gay side. I decided to do something one night I hadn’t before and that was to pray without the filter of my religion to cloud god’s answer to me it was going to come strictly from my heart and interpreted by my faith in the spirit. I was staying on the island of Le Bouveret at the time and I went down to the docks alone that night (which it being Switzerland I was lucky, had it been any other place I probably would’ve got mugged).
It was really a beautiful sight not one person, a whole bunch of swans swimming by and a view of the city of Montreux on another island on the other side. To sum it all out I poured out all my frustration, love, anger, sadness, hope ect., Into a prayer. I then received my answer to simply be true to myself and not give into the fear that has kept me as an extreme introvert to everyone. I didn’t just receive an answer, but I also received this courage to go forward with what I felt I had to do to both redeem my relationship with God and be the person I am. I was so happy I was dancing all along the bay. I wasn’t 100% certain that being honest and true meant I was to be openly gay so I decided to see if my relationship with god and my life as a whole would improve if I came out to the Swiss study abroad group starting with the guy I was attracted to.
I actually came out to him while we were visiting a castle on a small island. It took some time to build up the courage I had told him prior that there was something important I wanted to tell him, which did make it a little easier when the time came. It was like a balloon was swelling in my stomach and kept getting bigger till the words I’m gay came out and then it all just deflated and I felt an enormous weight lift from me. His reaction was that of great support and I found myself sharing much about myself I kept in for so long. After I came out for the first time it was like rolling downhill once started you can’t stop. It took only the following day for just about everyone in the group to know it. I had been able to be open to everyone about my struggles in thinking I had one. My study abroad experience, my relation to God, and my life has a whole had definitely improved. There was no going back for me.