Growing up Gay on the Hof

Posted for a friend:

Anyone who grew up on the hof will probably know the things they tell you about what gay people are – pedophiles, prostitutes, family destroyers, and they all get AIDS. I heard it all. I was told that it was easier to understand a murderer than a homosexual.

The servants often preached about being genuine (just like Hans im Gluck!) but when their main issue is anti-LGBT rights (excuse me, “family values”), it makes being yourself impossible for queer people.

I hated myself for a long time and was incredibly homophobic for a good part of high school partly because I didn’t want to be gay at first and partly as a cover. It was my dad who figured out what was “wrong” with me in my junior year of high school. When he asked me if I was “struggling with homosexual thoughts” I said yes. I didn’t think it through at all. All I knew was that I needed to change something about my life because I was spiraling into darker and darker places in my mind.

I stayed in the community for a year and a half more, pretending to want to “fight the desires” and meeting regularly with the servants to convince them that I was trying to become straight. That didn’t help at all with the depression, in fact it made it worse. I ended up asking to get a job outside the community and disengaging from communal life until I turned 18. Instead, I got to leave and start my life out here.

So far living in the big bad world has been a great experience. Therapy has helped me peel back the layers of repressive thought that hindered my happiness both on the hof and in the years since I left. There have been ups, there have been downs. I have dated some wonderful men and my life has flourished in many other ways as well. I have kept making changes here and there and bit by bit I have come to better understand myself, my position in the world, my ambitions, as well as what it takes to be happy.

Despite sounding like a poster-boy for some gay rights organization I’ll end by saying it gets better.