My name is Carter McMillan and I am a 15-year-old gay teen living in Bountiful, Utah.
Growing up I always knew something about me was different, I felt like the odd one out. Playing Barbie’s with the girls next door, wanting Littlest Pet Shops for toys, forcing myself to have a girlfriend; I never really understood what was wrong with me. In a society where being a boy meant you had to play sports, do karate, run fast, be strong and play tough I never felt comfortable and I hated it. I remember thinking about being gay in 6th grade but quickly put that thought out of my head. I was afraid and not really aware of what being gay was all about. I continued to do all of the things boys “normally” do like play soccer, go to boys activities in my Church, wear sport shorts and t-shirts and hang out with other boys, all the time feeling awkward.
I was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints so being gay is even more awkward.
Starting junior high was very rough for me. I was constantly harassed for being gay even though I didn’t know I was gay, this continued up until the end of eighth grade. When I finally figured out that the reason I felt so awkward was because I indeed was gay I felt – free! This enlightenment of my sexuality happened just prior to my 9th grade year. I came out publicly first to my mom, it was easy because she was already so accepting and I knew that. Since my dad was more involved in our church and a little more uptight about things, I had a feeling he wouldn’t be as accepting. Even though my coming out was a pretty smooth process we decided as a family that going to a counselor would be a good idea.
I was lucky to get an amazing counselor who also has a gay son.
Through this therapy both my parents and myself gained a better understanding and acceptance for who I am. People at my junior high were surprisingly pretty accepting. I did not hold back on my identity, I was gay and I was proud. It was really strange because I think I was a sort of idol for some of my peers and I felt like some hated me because they didn’t have my confidence. I’m in high school now and people are used to me walking in with eight-inch heels, tight leather jeans, and painted nails.
I feel like it is very important to be able to express yourself, whether it’s through fashion, art, singing, dance or whatever will define you as an individual.