Coming Out As Gay
I met Johnny after I arrived in the beautiful beach town of Cartagena, Colombia. He was the lead receptionist of the hostel I was staying at and I instantly knew we were going to bond as soon as he welcomed me.
There’s so many words I could use to describe Johnny, but it’s already 22.16 and I haven’t got all night to write this 🙂
Casa Del Pozo is the beautiful boutique that Johnny worked at and he made it shine even brighter than the fairy lights decorated across the walls. His smile was infectious, he became one of my closest friends within five minutes of meeting and his laugh brightened up your day – loud enough to hear at the other end of the hostel corridor and make you join in. Without sounding like I’m trying to write his CV, his friendliness, his willingness to help you with any problem or advise you about Colombia made me feel right at home and was a huge reason I returned to Cartagena three times – when the majority of people stay only three days.
The times I visited him at home, I was introduced to his crazy dog Manuel, Manuel’s unwilling play cat companion Giorgio and his boyfriend Yeik, and I spent some happy nights singing Whitney Houston until late and dancing to Ariana Grande with his pets.
Johnny and I spoke a lot – we both never shut up so it’s no wonder. One of the many conversations we had was about how lucky we are to have been blessed with friends that live in so many different countries through travelling. Johnny and I are similar in that respect, both bubbly, both tell terrible jokes and laugh at them the hardest and can be known for our smiles. However, one thing we both have in common are our Depression episodes and the waves of panic attacks that sometimes get buried beneath our grins. We discussed the difficulty and the fear of people finding out and thinking we weren’t authentic and stigma we feel still strongly surrounds the subject of mental health. We spoke about his Depression and the pain he felt coming out to his family at the age of 17, who refused to accept him for who he was.
“When you’re growing up knowing you will be judged by parents who are homophobic is a huge pressure on you. As a result of announcing my sexuality to my parents, my father and I no longer talk”.
Johnny knew from a young age that he was gay, and as a result of trying to be honest about himself to his parents, he wasn’t accepted. He carried a part of himself, that makes him the incredible person that he is like some sort of secret, or burden and I was gutted hearing it. One of the kindest, brightest sparks, unable to be accepted by his family for who he really is. You fall in love with beings, people, regardless of gender; you fall in love with the person who helps you up when you fall back down like his amazing (now HUSBAND!) Yeik and I still find it hard to accept the old fashioned views from some that your sexuality should be forced to be certain way, regardless of who you’re naturally attracted to.
I’m so happy for darling Johnny and Yeik on their marriage. Two sweet souls who are amazing for each other, welcoming me into Colombia with open arms. Keep being authentically you Johnny, because you’re perfect just as you are, shiny shirts and all 😉