My parents are embarrassed.
I should keep quiet about my "temptations." That is the logic they employ. But what I say in response to them, to all that would support this view, is "I will never be quiet." Pretending something does not exist will never make it go away. But, ah, how it has been tried. To you, dear reader, I encourage you to accept the beauty that is within you.
Sexual orientation will never define you in a total sense. It is but one label, term, or aspect of the rich personality that is you. But it is an important aspect to you. Sexuality is not about the expression of preference for the gender of your partner. It is about the expression of love in its most intimate, public, and private acts. The world, homophobes, and the uninformed focus on the sexual act. They focus on the intimate and most private of all acts and seek to make it villain. They ignore the affection and expression of love that can be seen in two hands with fingers intertwined, the gentleness of one person's head resting on the shoulder of their partner, a quick peck on the cheek, and the simple and cherished relief that you feel knowing the one you love is nearby. They ignore the laughter, the tears, the romance, and the hope that expressions of love bring between two people.
What does it grant us? Ignorance. As a gay man, I live in a world where my existence is denied in some countries, given the death penalty or severe jail terms. I am ridiculed by my peers, mocked and hated by adults in nearly all professions and religious organizations. Children all over the world are taught to hate and fear me, my friends, and those among them that will grow up to be gay.
So I do not accept the request to be silent. Silence stripped me of my identity and shoved me into that proverbial closet to appease those around me uncomfortable with the idea that a man could or would love a man. Being vocal brought me into contact with men and women of diverse backgrounds together in an effort to celebrate who we are: human. I am honest about who I am.
I will never be silent again. I invite the same from you, dear reader. I challenge myself to forever live up to this decision.