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He lives out his life courageously and has a bravery that comes from living authentically.
I’ve done many things that would make any parent proud.
I’veparticipated in sports, church and school events, but I ammost proud to be a good big brother.
As he tells it, he knew I was gay since he was in elementary school, but it was something that we did not discuss until he came out to me in 2013, when he was still in high school. The revelation did not catch me off guard, because my friends who observed us at home would say over the years, “Your brother is just like you, James.” What was most surprising, however, is how he came out with such certainty about who he was and what he wanted for his life. He knew he was gay and was presently in a relationship.
Comparatively, I came out at a much later age than he did, and when I did, I said what many gay men say at first when they are scared, that a part of them was still attracted to women.
Growing up in different households, we did not get the opportunity to see each other regularly.
Perhaps, that is why I did not know right away that he was gay too.I embraced my queerness while I was in college, 200 miles away from home.When I came out to my parents during my senior year I gave them the space to come to terms with my sexuality, which consequently meant we did not talk about it for a few years, including with my brother.We attend concerts together and trade tips on how to snap the perfect selfie.We go get pedicures, where I unconvincingly pretend to be the younger sibling.It’s an ongoingaccomplishment; I am second oldest in a family of six.Thereisn’t too much out there I wouldn’t do for my siblings, asannoying as they can sometimes be.I know for him growing up was not easy, and it often meant having to live in my shadow.But what he probably does not know is how envious I am of him.I have spent my twenties growing out of and into myself and painstakingly trying to feel comfortable in my own skin. Indeed, this is where I excel as the cooler head in tense situations.Perhaps I could have learned these lessons much sooner about being myself if I studied my brother as closely as I did my coursework. Nonetheless, I am in awe of the young man he is becoming.