I was born into a lower middleclass family on the southside of Columbus, Ohio. I had a pretty normal childhood. Except that, I was victim of sexual assault while visiting at a neighbor’s house at the age of three. I was too young and innocent to know what had happened or to articulate to my parents what had occurred. It was an isolated incident that altered my life in a big way. As I got older, I was a pretty care free happy go lucky type of guy. I was very well liked amongst my peers and had athletic prowess. Although, I appeared to be very secure as a person growing up on the inside, I was dreading becoming an adult because I was struggling with my sexual identity. I was raised in a very machismo culture. People were ridiculed for being gay and ostracized. Gay guys were typically feminine and soft. I did not identify with that nor was I going to behave in a manner that was not becoming to me as a person. I continued on trying to subdue these feelings that were inside of me. I found myself abusing drugs at a very young age in hopes of escaping my attraction to the same sex. I thought that I had done something wrong to make me have these feelings. I was hoping that I would out grow these feelings somehow. That never happened so I found myself getting deeper into abusing street drugs to hide my true feelings.
Although, I had these feelings of inadequacy, I had a passion for hip hop music. I am a very talented artist. I had created a bit of a street buzz around my microphone prowess. It is something that truly resonates with me as a person. Unfortunately, the Hip Hop culture was another very machcismo environment and being openly gay was frowned upon. Although, I had the ability to really make a name for myself as an artist. I chose to derail my own career out of fear of becoming successful and having to contend with my sexuality. I tried to pray the gay away but it was not going nowhere. It was not until I was 23 that I woke up one morning and a little voice in my head said “ its not your fault”. I was so guilt ridden and ashamed to think I had done something to cause myself to have these feelings of homosexuality. It was such a heavy burden to carry that I had actually considered suicide. When, I came to this realization that It was not my fault. I no longer was trying to drink and smoke myself into a early grave. I had even told myself that I could contract a horrible disease and on my death bed tell my family, “that I am gay so God is taking my life as punishment for my sin.” Luckily, that did not happen.
I continued on with my life no longer feeling guilty for my sexuality but I did not embrace that part of myself. My aspirations then became to help other people in my family and friends to be successful and hopefully they would reciprocate the favor someday. I did not want to die anymore but I still felt that my sexual preference made me less than others and undeserving to live my dreams. I got a regular job and tried to blend into main stream society. I had given up on my aspirations of being a Hip Hop artist or to do anything of any major magnitude for that matter. Although, I continued to make music for my own listening pleasure.
I did this for years until I was in my late 30’s. I told myself, I was too old to be a artist and because I allowed my sexuality to dictate my life path that I needed to stop making music all together and just move on with my mundane life. So, I decided to write one last song. I wanted to write a song about my life struggles and accomplishments. I prayed about this for some time. I was taught to look for God in all things. I came up with God adores you. It would be a song about me and a message to my children and anyone needing a message of hope. God adores you was also an acronym for the word Gay. The irony was uncanny to me. That those three simple but powerful words were an acronym for the word GAY. I shared the song with a couple of my siblings. They felt it was a beautiful song and the actual meaning behind the song of embracing one’s sexuality made it even more poignant. That is how this spiritual movement was birthed. I was very uncertain, if this were a good thing for me to do. I had hidden my sexuality from most people except for my immediate family and a couple close friends. Now, I was considering spear heading a spiritual movement for gay people. I was reluctant at first but I find it very rewarding to see the look of relief and joy that comes across the face of a person that has had the same feelings of guilt and condemnation that is encouraged from organized religion and mainstream society. So, that is why I have created this t-shirt to give LGBTQ people a sense of hope and self love. I believe in the consenting adults to love one another without feeling guilty or condemnation because God Adores You just the way you are. I am asking anyone who is Gay or supports the LGBTQ community to purchase the shirt and join the movement to empower people in self love and self acceptance. A percentage of all proceeds will go to helping with mental health and wellness of the LGBTQ community.