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I know for him growing up was not easy, and it often meant having to live in my shadow.
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 assume that they did not have as much internal indecision about their sexuality as they have come into their own at such a young age.
Yet, I know coming out is never easy, no matter what generation you belong to. Just try to intimidate him, or me for that matter, and you will get the clapback of your life.
However, sometimes, learning goes in the other direction.
In the past few years, I have come to learn a lot about being an out and proud gay black man from my younger brother.When I think of big brothers, I think of the guy who defends the family and always looksafter the younger (or even older) siblings.I have to watchover four sisters and a brother, plus myself.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.When you think ofbig brothers, do you think of a big, strong guy who will beatup all the bullies?Or do you think of a big brother as thebully who needs to be beaten up?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.Whereas for me and other gay men I grew up with, we had a delayed adolescence and often had to experience our first sexual encounters in secret and often with shame.A part of me is a little jealous of him and his cohort.