“I was born in 1975, and there was just so much negativity surrounding being gay while I was growing up. When I was growing up in the 80's and the 90's, being gay was not something that was talked about. It was very marginalized. I was being called faggot and gay long before I ever even knew what that meant... Long before I was even aware of my sexuality, just because I was different from the other kids.
“I didn't want to be gay, because I wanted to fit in. I just wanted to be like everyone else. But at a certain point I was like, 'No, you're gay, you have to admit it to yourself.' And that’s when I knew I had to start to come out. I had to come out very, very slowly. To friends, and then family, and slowly, over the years. My father was the hardest one to tell. He point blank finally asked me, 'Are you gay?' When I said 'Yes," he broke down and cried.
“Twenty years later at this point in my life, I have tons of friends who all know, and my family knows, so it's much better. I have lived in Asbury Park with my partner for ten years now, and it has a great community for gays to feel welcome there. Life is better for me now.”
~ Ocean Grove