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Ask Mr. Manners

How have you changed?

I recently read an article where the author boldly declared, “To be a gay man is to be a Chameleon.” He goes on in the article to describe that he was born as what many assumed to be a “heterosexual” boy, but his genetic code would later tell a different tale. He, like millions of other gay men, would enter the world under the umbrella of assumption. This got me thinking. When have I shared this self-proclaimed “umbrella of assumption.”

Did it begin in my grade school years? I am sad to say that I was among the throng of adolescent gay men who fell victim to the merciless teenage bullies who seem to sniff out gay men like a well-seasoned hunting dog. One person in particular gave me absolute hell, and for the longest time I struggled to love myself. While this is not something I look back upon with a fond regard, in time I was able to understand how this changed me and how I could use these experiences.

Like many members of the LGBT community, I share the traits of being fearless and unrelenting. While I can trace these traits back to my grade school years as coping mechanisms, I was eventually able to develop these into positive traits. This didn’t happen overnight, but these experiences changed me. They seasoned me and made me the person who I am today.

We all have our stories. The article I mentioned earlier continues in the analogy of gay men to chameleons, “To be a gay man is to be a chameleon … and for everything I’ve gained, I wouldn’t change a thing.” It has taken me years to get to the place I am today. I have struggled, forged friendships, fought for a cause, and learned how to stand uniquely on my own. It wasn’t easy, but I’m grateful for how I have changed. Now the question is turned to each of you, “how have you changed?”

About the author

Rock Magen

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