How to Survive Being Gay in a Small Town

I go to school in a town that has no stop lights. Everything is centered around farming and camo and all the shit that goes along with living in the country. Everyone here hates gays. I’m so ready to come out, but I’m also terrified. I just feel stuck in a room with no doors. Like I’m going to be stuck here forever and have to live the life of a guy that I’m really not. I’m tired of acting like the straight guy who is “just focusing on life and school, and doesn’t want to be in a relationship”. That’s not me, I really do want to be in a relationship. I want to find someone to kiss and cuddle and do everything else with. – Hunter, 16

I have you beat by one stop light, Hunter. Actually, I take that back – it’s not even a stop light…just a flashing yellow light the mayor covers in tacky garland every year for Christmas.

My graduating class was 30 kids. I come from the meth capital of the world (seriously). And when a Dollar General came to town, there was a collective crapping of pants.

Growing up in a small town is tough when you’re gay…or if you have any ambition whatsoever. There’s a reason small towns have so many drug users and alcoholics – there’s nothing to do, plain and simple.

That’s why small-town folk get so excited about hating queers. It’s like giving a kid some menial task so they’ll feel important. If anything, they should be thankful homosexuality exists since it evokes such passion in their otherwise passionless lives.

I’ve learned to not hold a grudge against them. Most homophobes hate themselves more than we could ever hate them.

But I guess that’s easy for me to say since I got the hell out of Farmville and found love in the big city. When you’re in the midst of all the camo and corn crops, it feels like a prison.

Here are some important things to remember until you get out of that hell-hole you’re in right now:

  • Stay goal-oriented. I know you said you want a relationship, but you’re only 16. Focusing on “life and school” as you put it, is the best possible thing you can do. If you’re always thinking about what you don’t have, you’ll never have anything. Know what I mean? Stay busy with yourself; find ways to learn and improve. When you’re happy with yourself, you’ll be surprised at how things start working in your favor.
  • Stop fighting depression. Fighting depression only causes more depression because it’s a constant internal struggle. How can you ever win a battle with yourself? The best thing you can do is acknowledge your feelings and pinpoint who/what makes you sad and what makes you happy. There is happiness outside your bubble, I promise.
  • Hate is not exclusive. People who hate gay people don’t just hate gay people. They hate anyone who has found happiness. You are in control of your destiny; nobody can hold you back unless you let them.

Hunter, I know you want to come out to your parents, but I’m afraid doing so right now would do more harm than good. I’m basing my advice off this part of your email:

My family is really religious and my mom is super super religious. She thinks that people who are gay, choose to be gay and she also thinks that you can change and not be gay.

Chances are she would force you into counseling or reparative therapy, and you’re too vulnerable to put up with that right now. Just be with yourself for the time being and know that you can always count on me or my subscribers to listen. It’s never “stupid and pointless to email someone from YouTube” when something is bothering you.

You’ll break free from those small-town shackles soon enough, and when you do, you’re going to find people out there waiting with open hearts and minds.


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15 Responses to How to Survive Being Gay in a Small Town

  1. Some excellent advice Sam. Stay strong Hunter. Your teens seem like forever but they’re really not. Focus on what you can contribute to the world, figure out what you want to do for work and then, when you become legal, rock the world. It’s all out there.

  2. Hey Hunter, I wanted to emphasize something Sam said. Coming out in such a narrow-minded town at your age has the potential to be both harmful and dangerous. Your parents legally still can decide your actions, and therefore can force you into doing therapy, religious counseling, etc… basically make your life even more hell-ish. You don’t deserve to be put through that, as we all know being gay isn’t a choice, and you are not hurting anybody by wanting to be intimate with the same-sex.

    I know once you have accepted life as a gay man, it is the hardest thing in the world to stay in the closet. It isn’t fair, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Luckily, once you turn 18, and gain a little financial independence, you will have endless opportunities ahead of you. You can leave that small town behind (both mentally and physically), whether it is through college, the military, or just exploring new areas. You’ll find a wealth of support out there, and realize that your small town is stuck in a time warp, and that in most major cities, people are far more accepting of homosexuals. Rather than thinking that you’re trapped, look at it like you have this amazing life to look forward to, and you’re just working your way there. It will get better for you.

  3. I grew up in the country. It was 13 miles to get to a town with a flashing yellow light with crumbling buildings and graduated with a class of 37 people. When I think back 5 years ago it does amaze me how I survived. I stayed in the closet until a few years of college. I understand the depression and yearning you can go though. It isn’t easy. There isn’t some miracle advice I can give that will make everything just better, but get some close friends, in person or on the net. And try to play your cards for the long term so you can escape out of town. Hang in there!

  4. Thanks, that’s great advice. I grew up in a small town and can totally relate to that. I wish kids had access to people that could give them good advice when they need, but not everyone has access to the internet, unfortunately.

  5. Thanks for your suggestion. I’m just walk in the cloud. Great dude

  6. I am from a small town too. None of my family or friends know that I am gay but I love to show off in my private webcam shows. I don’t do full sex on cam because I’m afraid the whole city would find out. But it sure helps to know that iPartyChat gives me a place to be myself and indulge in my sexual pleasure.

  7. Sam Luigi, thanks for you useful advice I’m always try to stay goal-oriented. You know life is too difficult. Basically maximum people needs to try to just survive. Finally thanks for your nice post.

  8. There is nothing wrong in being a gay, in fact being gay is not an easy personality. It needs a brave and positive attitude to cope up with life. It is not easy to fight with ourselves because we know what are our weaknesses.

  9. I have been living in a small town that is a church belt town and its hard to live in this environment. All I want to do is crawl out my skin or hope to to take me far away.

  10. I am a lesbian in a gay dating town where the whole place is a bunch of gays finding that special woman to strap it on and have a ball.

  11. Great site: Like most of the comments I came from a very small town in Australia, 200 people, and because I grew up there since 6yrs old, a lot of the locals thought I was a “poofter”, This brings story brings back a lot a bad memories, but eventually time moves on, and once you get the opportunity to get out of town, life can be great. you at least have the internet, to be in contact with other gays, so take your time, and learn about life in the mean time.

  12. Thanks, that advice really helps me. I live in a small town and it isn’t easy for me either. I am 15 years old and people aren’t very supportive about gay people so I am still in the closet. I really appreciate the advices. :)

    • So glad I could help! :) Small towns have their charm, but they can suck when you’re in the closet – stay strong!

  13. My name is Hunter and I’m from a very small country town and I decide to come out of the closet in 2006 when I became 18 years old and was graduating in 2007 I’m 24 now and I have a wonderful boyfriend chin up kiddo! Everything will be OK. :)

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