Continuing our Pride series, we are handing the blog over to Lucas and Bram as they discuss the journey to being true to themselves, and what Pride really means…
Writing this story brings me to the same state of mind as when I came out to my parents; overcome with a wave of emotion, what do I say, and where do I start?
Let’s start here. Hindsight, coming out was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. It has allowed me to experience love and be the most “real” Lucas I have ever been! That being said, the process was not easy. Though nothing great ever comes from taking the easy road, right?
I have known I was gay since I was six. But there is a difference between knowing something and being ready to share it with the world. For example; I know I want those new jeans, but am I financially ready to buy them? I know I’m gay, but am I emotionally ready to take on the wave of questions, comments, and potential ridicule that is often associated with being openly gay? Well, at 24 I felt I was.
Long story short, sharing this openly with the people closest to me in my life went very well! My sister and brother-in-law were ecstatic to someday have their children get two uncles. I saw my dad cry for the third time in my entire life, because “he was so proud of me for being true to myself.” And my closest friends were so excited to be able to go hunting for the perfect guy for me.
The amount of courage that it takes for anyone to do this is astounding. I applaud everyone out there for making that leap to be true to themselves, whatever that may be. The people that are supposed to love you in life will still love you! Relationships may be lost, questions may be asked, but at the end of the day the people that truly respect you will be in your corner.
Buckle has been one of those important pillars that has always had my back. I have always felt included here and truly felt at home. They’ve accepted me for who I am, and shoot, even let me move across the country to another store so I could experience a different scene! For all of this, thank you so much!
In summation I will leave you with this: Be true to who you are, whatever that may be! There will always be people that will love you for you! And though it may not be the easy path, I guarantee you it will be worth it in the end!
Pride means something different to every member of the LGBTQ+ community; things like love, acceptance, equality, courage, community. For me, Pride is something I think about and reflect on every single day and my mind fills with so many thoughts, feelings, memories. Pride is about the long journey that I, and countless others, have been on to get to a point in life where we are fearless enough to live our best, most authentic lives and feel the kind of self-love and acceptance everyone strives for.
I think about the incredible friends that really are my “chosen family”, all with different stories, and coming from different walks of life, but drawn together by our common experiences.
I celebrate how far our community has come, but also remember to stay focused on the things we still have to accomplish to be truly equal, motivated to make a difference, to inspire the next generation.
My “coming out” story. I was struggling and afraid to take this first step. I reached out first, to my cousin Andy. He’s a big brother to me, and my mentor. He listened, accepted, and gave me courage. He then stood with me when I told my mom. She had some questions and was worried that my life would have struggles. Nevertheless, she said she’s always known, she loved me, and would always love me.
My dad wasn’t told until a little bit later. My mom feared that he wouldn’t be as accepting, considering how he was raised. Eventually, my mom just told him. She also explained to him that if he could not accept me and kicked me out, she’d be leaving too.
My father surprised us all! I had ran to the grocery store for my mom and when I came home, my father approached me. He told me to put the bags on the ground, he gave me a big hug, and told me he knew for years. That he loves me and he wants me to be happy. I couldn’t believe it. I knew from that moment I would be ok.
It wasn’t until August 17, 2013 when I “came out” officially to the world. It was my first day of college and I, confidently, introduced myself! “Hi, my name is Devin and I’m gay.” That’s the day I began to feel truly me, authentically me! It gave my courage to now be good to myself. To love myself. Over the next two years I lost 100 pounds, but I gained my self esteem and self confidence!
“Coming out” I can honestly say was the best decision I’ve ever made for myself. I’m now 25. I’m an assistant manager in training for Buckle, my favorite store, mind you! And I’m co-owner of Before & After Events LLC in event planning.
I remembered one of the questions I was asked in my interview by Sarah, “What makes you different, and what can you bring to Buckle?”. I said, “I’m gay and I can bring you diversity”. I remembered she started smiling.
If you were to ask me if I would change anything about my life, I would say no. I believe that everyone faces obstacles in their lives and if they stand true and strong, you can overcome those obstacles. You then can become who you were truly meant to be. Don’t ever be afraid to be who you want to be, and don’t let society scare you into being something you don’t feel comfortable being.
Love yourself, be authentically you. Love is love!
Thank you a million times over to the teammates who took the time to share their stories with us to celebrate Pride.
From learning about acceptance, how far we’ve come, and how far we have yet to go, we are so thankful to have you a part of our Buckle community.
We are PROUD of you.