In honor of National Coming Out Day, PRIDE sat down with out-and-proud singer/songwriter Wrabel to talk about family, religion, God, and coming out. He gave us his story.
I kept it in for 23 years, and I remember so many times just trying to say it to myself. "Are you going to say 'I'm gay?' Just whisper it to yourself on your couch at night." I couldn't do it.
At first, I thought, "Everybody feels like this. Boys will be boys. I'm sure it goes away. I'm going to marry a pretty blonde girl and have 2.5 kids and if we're crazy, maybe we'll get a Dalmatian."
It was rough. I kept a lot buried down deep, deep, deep, deep within. By now, I'm 28. I've been to rehab twice. The first one was before I was 21. It was a lot of hiding, trying to deal, and self-loathing. I never really had a fear of someone finding out, it was a fear of it was in me. This thing was in me.
I felt like the only person in the entire world that was going through that. I'm the only one. It's almost like the whole world is looking at me like "you're weird, you're wrong, you're this."
It builds up this sense of being an outsider. Of being weird or being off. Those things stay, even once you come out. I have a great therapist, and she's the first person to tell me when I'm going through something, insecurities, anxiety, depression, all this stuff, she's like "Growing up gay in a heteronormative society, even if it's the best case scenario, it still leaves you marked." And with church, and attaching God onto that makes it heavier. It becomes eternal.
My coming out was interesting. I came out into a church in LA that had a stance of "You can be gay, but you can't be gay."
I remember waking up the morning I came out and literally thinking that I was going to die. Like physically, like panic attacks, I couldn't believe it.
It was all because I met this boy through church, and I reminder sitting at this diner and being like "shit, man." Growing up, I knew I was gay, but once you're in front of someone and you're like "I literally am in love with you," it's a different thing.
So I came out into this church and maybe within a month, maybe two months, we were kind of kicked out. Not really kind of, we were very much kicked out. They went through the biblical thing you're supposed to do where you confront them privately and then you bring in a church elder. It was really difficult. We were really in love and the guy I was with was very much in the community there.
Looking back, I'm sometimes proud of myself. It was such a dark time but it brought something out of me where I was like "I don't buy this." I grew up in church and everyone's talking about love and love and love and love. This isn't love, kicking someone out of a church because they've fallen in love.
It seems like if there's a God out there that loves us, he'd be stoked if two people find each other and love each other. It seems like that's the point.
I took it upon myself to find support. We both grew up in the church and I went out to try and find churches that are accepting and celebrates the fam, and I did. That brought me to come out to my family and my friends.
I don't think I've ever told anyone this. I came out to my family in an email.
I took two trips home where I was like "I'm going to tell them, this is the moment." At my friend's kid's choir concert, I was looking around at the kids and their parents and I was like "What am I doing? I haven't told them who I am."
You know what, I started a conversation via Blackberry, and that's fine. Don't be to hard on yourself about how or when or where. Everyone's coming out story is totally different.
It's hard to give advice because it's such a personal thing. I'm kind of a believer in on your time, and where you feel safe, and where you feel protected. Because the truth is it's not always family. A lot of times, it isn't family. And that's really sad, but whether it's someone at school, whether it's a teacher you trust, a friend, anyone that you believe in your heart that can just hear you. Find your support wherever you can find it and take it. You don't have to go yell it on top of a mountain unless you want to.
It's your story to tell and you don't have to tell anyone. If I know you're going to hate me, treat me differently, or not accept me, then I don't need to tell you this. It's your own thing and you do it in your own way and your own time.
It finds it's way out as you become more and more comfortable with yourself. The biggest, most important thing to do is coming out to yourself and realizing that's okay.
Something I try to do a lot is just talk about this. If I heard someone tell me "that's my same story," I think it would've brought some comfort. "Well they did it. And they seem okayish I guess."