Revised Lessons

Growing up in a small town in rural Indiana, I was taught very little about sex and even less about sexual identity. We didn’t have any sex education in school, and any messages came directly from my parents or church. All I was really taught was not to do it and that “it” only happened between a man and a woman in the context of marriage. As a boy growing up in small town Indiana, I was never as interested in girls as my peers. I always knew something was maybe different about me. I struggled with that a lot and went through a lot of self-hate and bullying as a result. Had I learned that relationships and sex didn’t just happen between men and women, but could happen between two guys too, I feel like I would have been saved a lot of turmoil. It would have normalized it in my school, led to less bullying, and made me feel like less of an outcast. I didn’t fully come out until I left that small town in Indiana and moved to Chicago, a city where I wasn’t alone in my gay identity. I am now married to my partner of 14 years and we have two kids: Madeline and Matthew. We aren’t going to repeat the same mistakes my parents and the failed school system made. We are teaching our kids developmentally appropriate sex education, including sexual identity information, so that they don’t have to go through the same confusion, self-hate, bullying, and turmoil as I did growing up.