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How Beyoncé Opened the Door to My Closet

How Beyoncé Opened the Door to My Closet

How Beyoncé Opened the Door to My Closet

When I was a child, I played football with my friends and danced to Destiny's Child in the privacy of my bedroom. Even though I desperately wanted to talk about “Say My Name,” I forced myself to listen to rap so I could pass as “straight” during lunchroom conversations. But Destiny’s Child albums were secretly the soundtracks of my life.

I followed Destiny’s Child into the Survivor era. Before my brother came home from school, I mastered the dance moves to “Bootylicious” and prayed no one would find out. My obsession peaked in 2003; that’s the year I fell in love with Bey and learned to love myself.

It was my first year in college. I was an 18-year-old closeted gay man away from home for the first time, and Beyoncé’s “Baby Boy” was my anthem. I lived for that song but buried my obsession in stereotypical masculinity. Still a virgin, I lived my sexual fantasies through the sultry seductiveness of her music. “Crazy in Love” and “Naughty Girl” represented all the things I wanted to be, but I was too afraid to show the world.

By 2006, my senior year, I’d lost my virginity, but I explored my sexuality discreetly. That year, Beyoncé gave me something special for 21st birthday. B’Day was my everything. My friends and I blasted this album on repeat, and it inspired me to venture to the city frequently to visit gay clubs. I mastered her moves and celebrated the gay club scene. Yet I still didn’t feel comfortable; I lived two lives.

By 2008, I confided in my close friends and came out. I was finally comfortable sharing my true self and passion. Queen Bey’s I Am ... Sasha Fierce summarized this moment in my life. I was torn. Should I live my out life proudly or hide my truth to pacify others?

By the 4 era, I was ready for change. I was tired of maintaining a picture-perfect image.  Living contradictory lives, I felt fractured. Beyoncé’s 4 empowered me to stop caring about what others thought. This realization motivated me to leave Richmond, Va., and move to D.C.

December 13, 2013, Midnight
Beyoncé dropped Beyoncé and my world stopped. I stayed up until dawn listening to each track and studying her videos. She was bold and unapologetic about her sexuality. Beyoncé didn’t care what folks thought about her, and I realized, I can do this. I can be me.

By 2014, I was out and proud. I started writing and speaking my mind. That October, I published an article on my coming out. At the time, it was my greatest achievement, and it afforded me countless opportunities.

Beyoncé is my queen; she taught me to love myself and live honestly. Obviously, she’s not the reason I came out, but I acknowledge the role her music and life played in my life. I live for Bey, stan for Bey, and will always be a member of the Beyhive.

I am black. I am gay. I am a stan for Beyoncé.

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