To My Gay Best Friend,

June, 2007 (When Our Friendship Began): Pre-pubescent faces, small statures, smiles filled with missing teeth, laughter that filled the ears of so many people around us, and a bond that was formed that can never be broken. The innocence that we saw within each other, the love that I found within you, the friend that I could never imagine my life without, I never thought that we would face some of the hardships that we have in our lives together. The divorces, the friendships, the relationships, you name it, we’ve gone through it. But, I never thought that with the loss of innocence came with a loss of identity that you eventually came to grow into…

September, 2012 (Now Best Friends Starting High School): Growing pains, butterflies filling our stomachs at the thought of entering high school, heart aches at growing up. Some days were filled with tears, some days felt longer than others, but none of this compared to the days that you struggled with coming to terms with who you are today. In a world that appears so accepting, you find the demons amongst and within you that hinder your ability to speak and show your identity in all facets. The tears became waterfalls, continuously streaming down your face, and the pain that swelled your heart became the aches that I felt radiating from you. But, I wouldn’t change a thing about it…

January, 2014 (Brother and Sister Status After Nearly 8 Years of Friendship): I sat in my bed, scrolling through the Yahoo! Homepage, awaiting your daily FaceTime call to come through. My fingers typing amongst the keys, I hear the infamous ring of the call coming through my computer and piercing my ears. The anxiety that I felt, the curiosity at what you could possibly be telling me plagued my mind, and the ability to formulate a simple “hello” became challenging. You answered, and very simply began with, “Sarah, I’m coming out to you right now. I am gay,” leaving me speechless, flabbergasted, taken back, yet so relieved. This was the day that changed our lives and friendship forever.

January, 2014 (The Very Same Phone Call): Tears continued to swell in my eyes and pour down my face. I couldn’t help but think, “you really did it.” The contemplation that you had faced for so long will now subside, the pain that you had felt piercing within you will now conclude, and you can now begin your life being the person that you were always meant to be. As we concluded our FaceTime with an exchanged “I love you,” as we always do, I couldn’t help but feel so grateful and lucky to have someone like you in my life. Not just for the human being that you were, but for who you were becoming, and how you were going to now make such an impact on people who were in those same shoes as you.

You show me what it means to passionate. You show me what it means to be accepting and caring of every single person who comes before me, regardless of race, ethnicity, past, or religion. You show me that its okay to be different, to love with all that I have, and to never be afraid to share who I am. You show me the meaning of being a best friend and to always express my ideas. You show me how loved I am, today and everyday, for the rest of my life, because I have a friend like you by my side. You show me that you are more than the stereotypes that surround your community. You show me life from a different perspective, and for that, I am forever grateful. You may be “gay” to everyone else, but to me, you are my forever friend, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I love you and am proud of you every single day.