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As a young gay man growing up, you'll be doing a lot of cumming--I mean coming. Coming out, coming of age, cumming into a pair of used boxers you stole from that hunk's dirty laundry. All kinds. Of course, some of these are not unique to gay men. All pubescent folks of every variety must go through a period of coming of age. That process of maturing to adulthood and stepping into your identity takes time, and everyone goes through it eventually, regardless of sexual orientation. But for many gay men, their coming of age is a unique, two-part process. Here's why.

When you grow up in an environment that is, shall we say, intolerant and culturally backward, you are not given an opportunity to express your gayness as you discover it. Coming of age as a gay man in certain parts of the world means learning to find a way to navigate a bigoted environment whilst hiding your innate tendencies that you know will get you in trouble. In a way, what you're doing is coming of age as a straight man with some particularly stringent notions of masculinity.

Now, as oftentimes is the case, gay men who develop in these stifling environments usually find a way to get themselves the hell out and to a place where they can be themselves. Usually a bigger city with an existing gay community who is there ready to welcome them. And once this gay man has found his community, that's when the second coming of age begins.

When you surround yourself in a community of people who not only accept you for who you are, but also share a common lived experience of gayness, you will find yourself going through a whole new coming of age process. You will learn to freely express your gayness, your fem side, or anything you've been hiding for fear of ostracization. You'll feel like a kid again, gossiping about your man-crushes, staying up late watching cheesy movies, doing makeovers, or whatever .Lean in, be yourself, and have that silly carefree fun you may have missed out on as a kid.

So if you see one of these bright-eyed, bushy-tailed gays show up in your city, reach out and let them know it's okay to be themselves now. :)

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