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[coming out stories]

David Spillers
Residential Counselor, Knoxville, TN
October 11, 2004

Hello, my name is David Spillers from Fayetteville, Arkansas but currently living in Knoxville, Tennessee. I am 25 year old now. I work at Tennessee School for the Deaf. I would like to write a story about how I came out of the closet as being gay.

Since I was very young, in elementary, I knew I liked boys. Always have. I didn't come out in high school and I wish I did. In high school I knew I was gay but I was too afraid to tell anyone except my mom's close friend. She had a lesbian daughter and a gay son and I always feel comfortable communicating with them. I talk to their mother also who is very open minded. She said she has always knew that I was gay and never had a problem about it. When I graduated from Arkansas School for the Deaf in 1998, I went to Gallaudet University in the fall of 1998. I met a lot more cute deaf guys but I wasn't out at that time and was afraid to. I spent quality of time on internet talking to other gay people trying to find myself and trying to make it easier for me to tell one of my very close friend, Rosalie Harris. She often ask me "Why are you in a gay chatroom? Are you gay?" I would answer "No, I just like to chat with any kind of people but if I am gay, what would you do?". Her answer was "If you are gay, I would always love you no matter what." This has happened several times and her answers has always been the same. I was really afraid and I even read Washington Blade, Washington, D.C. Gay Newspaper. ANY gay articles. Everything that is related to gay. I was trying too hard to find a way to come out.

One day in September 1998, I was wearing a white t-shirt with a guy's head upside down and it says "Normal is Boring". I never knew what it meant but I just thought the shirt was cute. Even my high school teachers said they loved that shirt. I walked in the cafeteria one evening, I saw Arkansas folks in the big 10' round table with about 10 chairs. All of them are from Arkansas except one. The one is from Virginia and his name is Ricky Taylor. He looked at me and said "Can I ask you a question?" I said "Sure". He said bluntly, "Are you gay?" I paused for a while and said "Why? Are you?" He said bluntly, "Yes I am, are you?" I paused and took me a while to answer and I slowly said "No. Why?" He said "Your shirt said so. Normal is boring. Straight is boring". Again I paused then said "Oh, I didn't know that." I went away to get my dinner and after that, I zoomed to my dorm room and changed my shirt. I thought about it and I really could not hide it anymore. I went to see my another Arkansas friend, Silas Wagner who knew me all my life since I was very little. He was talking to another Arkansas folk who was in Little Rock at that time, Flint Fears. Flint told Silas that he could not believe that I went to Gallaudet because I'm a homophobic. I asked him to ask Flint why he said that. Flint got the impression when he came to visit A.S.D. and I was talking about Gallaudet having lots of gay people and that was gross. I told Silas that I think I'm gay. He took it very well and said "That's fine. I don't care." Then I talked to Flint and I told him that I'm NOT homophobic and I am sorry if I ever said that. That night, we talked for hours about our experiences in high school. I felt better that someone understood me. And like I said, I spent quality of time on internet in the chatroom and one night, Ricky found me in a chatroom and started shits with me like he knew I was gay. Of course, that's so typical Ricky, he blabbed all over Gallaudet and all Arkasnas folks already knew because of him. But one of my very closest friend, Rosalie, she didn't have a clue. Rosalie came in my dorm room one day with a friend of ours from Arizona, Nina. I told Rosalie that I need to tell her something. I finally told her that I was gay. She smiled and said "You're kidding me." I said "No, I am not kidding you. I'm gay, seriously." She said "No, you aren't." I opened a drawer full of Washington Blade and all gay articles. She said that I set it up to make it look that way. I told her that I was too afraid to tell her because the last thing I would want is to lose her as a best friend. I told her to go ask other Arkansas folks. She got kinda angry with me because she wanted me to be comfortable with her and share my feelings with her first. I apologized for not doing that but I was too afraid to lose her because I love her to death and would never want us to be apart for ANY reasons! She forgave me and all the times she said she would still love me, and sure enough, she said "I still love you." I felt better and we hugged. She was kinda in a shock but taking it very well. Then she started to ask me who I like, who I had sex with, what it is like, all that. It was hard at first because I was very new to it and don't know much about being gay. I liked boys, that's all I can say. From Silas' word, he said that my mom already knew because Silas' mom knew about it and she heard that my mom knew about it and was very hurt.

I left Gallaudet in May 1999. For a year and half, I have met random gay guys in my hometown in Arkansas. I also got to get to know one of my wonderful friend, Juan who is a mexican. We had talked online a lot that times and we got to meet and hang out. He has always been so wonderful to me. He told me all the times that he WILL learn sign when we meet. It was sweet of him to say that but in my mind, "Yeah right, people say that all the times!" But when we met, he proved me wrong! He actually knew how to say his name and a few other things. I was very impressed. I felt bad for doubting him but I never said that to him. More we hang out, more he learn to sign. I met another of his (ours now) friend and his roommate when he invited me over for dinner at his place. Eugene, he was funny as hell that night and cracked me up! He knew ABC's but was rusty at that time. Josh was very nice to me but we communicated on the papers and pens mostly. I started to go over to Juan's more often and when I do, Eugene and Josh would be there. I fell in love with all of them. I love the way our friendships are. Eugene is black. Juan is mexican. Josh is white. I'm Deaf. And we all are special. The one thing that we all are alike is that we all like guys. We all get along just fine and everyone was learning signs and still is today. I miss them a lot as I'm in Tennessee and they're in Arkansas. Anyway, I would go to Eugene's on my days off and stay with him for two days. And my sister was in jail in that area so I could go visit her while staying at Eugene's. I told my sister and mom about a wonderful friend I have. One day, my mom and I had an arguement, and she said "Melissa says she thinks that you and Eugene are gay." (Melissa is my sister). I ignored her comment.

On August 25, 2000, Eugene, Juan and I agreed to meet at a coffee house but we had to go due to electrical problems so we went to a small place next door with pools, darts, and etc. A guy was sitting behind me who Eugene thought was very cute. He went to the bathroom and back. Again, he went to the bathroom, Eugene wrote his phone number in a match book and passed it to him as they were shaking hands. I thought Eugene was taking a risk because he COULD have a chance of getting two black eyes! Haha! After that, I went home. Eugene went over to Juan's. And the guy called! Eugene invited him over to Juan's place for a chat. His name was Nicholas and he was 19 year old, University of Arkansas student. Eugene found him to be too young but he invited him over to his house for a party next night that was already planned for. I went over and there were several people and he was there. He looked cute. He didn't know signs. But we talked on papers and pens while talking to Juan and Eugene in sign, and they would interpret too. I don't know how but I guess Nicholas and I hit it off and we talked on the papers and pens for hours hours hours, in the living room. Just two of us. We slept together that night. I've never felt so good being with a guy. My mom called about 5:30 in the morning because we were supposed to go for a 6 hours drive at 7:00am. So Nicholas and I swapped our emails and I left. My mom was a bit upset with me, I told her that I fell asleep after watching a movie and she knows how I am falling asleep easily during the movie time. I still think about Nicholas. We stopped at Silas' mother's house and I got online and emailed Nicholas immediately and he replied. We've been talking from there on. He came over to Juan and Josh's the next weekend and I was asleep on the couch, he woke me up. It was like, he was an angel. I was so happy. I taught him ABC's, he picked it up quickly. We started to visit eachother more often and he learned more new signs. But we continued to communicate on papers and pens but not for long. He finally learned enough to communicate without papers and pens.

October was coming and I wanted to come out to my mom. She knew that I had a new "friend" named Nicholas but probably didn't have any clue. I planned on coming out to her on October 11. That's when I wanted to come out. It would be a special day for me even if she wasn't happy. I just wanted her to know who I love. Just two days before October 11, Nicholas and I went to see my mom at her friend's house and I introduced Nicholas to everyone. As we were about to leave, my mom needed to leave too and we were walking to our cars and my mom was in a GOOD mood that night. She was usually bitchy and grumpy because she hated her job so much. But since she was in GOOD mood on October 9th, I thought it would be a perfect time to tell her. Outside at her friend's house, I told my mom, "I need to tell you something." She said "What?" I said, "He is not my friend. He is my boyfriend." Surprisingly my mom took it very well and said "That's fine. I love you." She hugged me and hugged Nicholas. I almost cried because it was just perfect, just how I wanted it to go. My mom was very cool. The next day, she came home and was comforting me and asked me if I'm ok. And again she said "I love you no matter what." I wrote my sister Melissa a letter telling her that I gave my heart to a guy and if she can't accept that and I will understand and I can move on with Nicholas and our mother. She cried and wrote back and told me that she would NEVER disown me no matter what and she wished that I didn't say that. In a way, I wish I didn't say that but I didn't know how she would feel about it. So another family member is cool with it. I came out to more and more people, even at work. To this day, I am totally out and I am very happy that I'm out. I'm myself now, not staying in the dark crowded closet with dirty laundry basket next to me and clothes hanging low on me on my head on my knees. And I'll always remember October 9th.

I probably haven't told ANYONE, but thanks to those internet people who helped me through with it, talk to me, my family, my friends, and everyone who I knew or knew me. Even those internet people who don't know me but they've helped me in a way. HAPPY NATIONAL COMING OUT DAY!!! :-) *HUGGIES to you all and to those closeted youths who are struggling right now*

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