Today’s Video Story was collected on the 50-state Story Tour. Check out the blog where you can read about the adventure we had and some of the stories we collected. If you haven’t submitted a story yet to IFD, or if you want to submit another one, I’d love to read and publish it. Write one up and send it in.
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I’m Derrick Capson, I’m from Blackfoot, Idaho. I came out when I was about sixteen, my sophomore year of school. It was kind of difficult because I grew up in a very religious family, they were from the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, so they were very conservative and growing up I had always been just kind of the good son and I really just wanted to please my parents growing up. So when I came out, it was difficult for me because I had been so close to my parents and I had always just been this good son and so to do something to disappoint them was very hard for me. So when I first told them, I agreed to counseling for a year. It was kind of interesting because I felt like a lot of times I’d just go talk to the counselor and it felt like really empty sessions, like I didn’t really feel like I got a ton out of it, like he’d just tell me, “Oh, well be rational about your feelings.” And I think if anything, the counselor, the only thing the counselor really did was help me suppress. At the end of the day, I was just a shell of a person—I didn’t have feelings, I couldn’t laugh at jokes, and there was no joy in life for me doing that. At that point, I kind of had a rebellious moment and I got online and I met this guy and we went out and we made out. It was the first time I’d done anything sexual in a year, like hadn’t done anything at all so it was really exciting but at that point, I was like okay, obviously this isn’t going to work for me because I needed that passion in my life. My junior year I sorted out my values and my beliefs and by the end of that year, I finally actually gained enough confidence in my beliefs in God and how I felt about religion and the Bible and all those things that I was able to feel like I really have a strong feeling that God kind of y’know touched my heart and said “Derek, it’s okay, you’re right: your beliefs are good, your values are good and being gay doesn’t make you a bad person.” But when I came out in this really conservative town with all these Mormon people who didn’t really agree with homosexuality, instead of becoming less popular or disliked or hated or like any of those things, like, it was just an overwhelming feeling of love, like I became more popular in a weird kind of way, the whole school knew but they all supported me and loved me. For me, it was just a really positive experience, and my senior year was awesome, like I was completely out, like I didn’t have any shame. I think our culture sometimes makes us feel like we have to be self-conscious about how we feel or what we think, and it gives us, especially gay people, have a lot shame about their feelings and they’ve always been told that their feelings are second-rate and that what you believe isn’t right, so you’re a second-rate person and your feelings and your desires and your needs can’t be met. I think for me personally I still struggle with that, but I’m lucky in the fact that I’m aware of it and so I can work to meet my own needs and help people to see that they deserve to have the desires of their hearts and their passions met.