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Monday, March 2, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 16.0° F  Fair
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Coming out doesn't have to be painful

A recent Isthmus cover story chronicled the difficult coming-out process of Patrick Farabaugh, who was ostracized as a gay youth in a small Indiana mill town. Farabaugh turned his life around in Madison, where he started a hockey league and a magazine to bring the LGBT community together. Coming out was much less painful for Tynan Sinks, who sent in his own story in response to our article.

In terms of coming out, I've always felt that some members of the gay community resent me because they feel I didn't have it "hard enough" -- like I haven't paid my dues for the initiation into the gay club or something. We can be so hard on each other sometimes. But there are so many horror stories out there already, and mine just isn't one of them. Does that make it any less important? Does that make me any less gay?

I went to a strict Catholic high school. (Does that send shivers down your spine? It should.) Obviously my way of life was far from accepted by the faculty and staff, but my peers were another story. Whether I was being applauded for being true to myself or they just saw it as me being edgy and fighting the power, I don't know. What I do know is that hardly anyone made my sexuality any more a part of me than my hair color or shoe size, which is the way it should be.

My parents were lovely and have always been supportive, only concerned with my safety and happiness. I value this beyond words because I saw the kids who didn't have a supportive home life, coming to school after being sent to therapy to "cure them" or with bruises on their neck from their dads trying to "choke the gay out of them."

I just think of all the kids who aren't out yet, but have only heard so many of the horrible coming-out stories. This isn't one of them, but it's one I wish I had heard before I came out.

"Citizen" is an opinion series that presents the views of the author. If you would like to reply, please comment or consider submitting an op-ed in response.

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