By Nikki

Today is #NationalComingOutDay

Man I sure do/did envy the gays who knew about themselves and paraded it proudly at a school kid age. Not me. I was completely focused on getting on the radio. I had a one track mind about my career and no boys (or girls) ever interested me. One of my besties ‘came out’ in high school and I didn’t think anything of it. I told her she was my friend and I had her back no matter what. Never even crossed my mind that I was ‘that way’.

Fast forward a few years to me moving out my mama’s house and all the way across the country to Las Vegas. I moved there to be on the radio of course. I knew no one, I was lonely, lots of time alone to think. I felt a void in my life that couldn’t be filled with radio and music. Without getting into to much detail…I realized what was ‘wrong with me’ but was scared to tell anyone. You go through denial in your mind, denial to the outside world, shame and what will my family think? I was always so confident, the person who didn’t give a bleep what anyone thought of me…but this…was different.

If it weren’t for ‘out’ celebs like Ellen, Melissa Etheridge and shows like Will & Grace…I may still be in the dark cold closet! I used to get into gay clubs and just stand in the back and watch these people being so happy and free, dancing and prancing like nobody’s business. I wanted to join them but I was stuck to the back wall like velcro.

It quietly turned the closet door handle, peeked out a few times then slammed it shut again. All my friends were fabulously fierce and gay but I kept it low profile. The last thing I had to do to set myself free was tell my parents. Really, they were all that mattered. If they knew and had your back then you were going to be OK. I was so chicken to tell my mom so I emailed her, ha! She said, get this…she knew and it was OK!!!! The biggest weight of the world had been lifted off me. I was free to be me.

I can not even imagine what it was like for gays 20 years ago. Before there were people in the public eye saying…it’s OK. I feel like the day Ellen Degeneres ‘came out’ on the cover of Time Magazine was the sharp corner turning point. Thank you Ellen. Thank you to the people that have paved the way before and after Ellen.

Love is love. Love starts with you loving who you are. Rupaul said it best “If you can’t love yourself then how the hell you gonna love somebody else!”

Amen!

-NiKki

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