Coming Out Is Tough, And This Poet Proves Why Self-Acceptance Is So Crucial To The Process

"What my father didn't realize was that I'd already considered it all."

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The process of coming out of the closet can be trying one for LGBTQ+ people, especially when coming out to a parent who doesn't understand. Poet and hip-hop artist Jared Paul details the angst that can come with the process in his spoken word poem "Boys Don't Kiss," a performance of which was recently featured by Button Poetry and highlights how self-acceptance can aid anyone in coming to terms with their sexual identity.

"Growing up, Dad would occasionally let the family know that 'gay folks were going against the Bible,' " Paul opens the poem, setting us up for a narrative that's just as much about his relationship with his dad as it is about embracing his sexuality. He then goes on to mention a particular incident that occurred between him and his father when he came home during his first — and final — year of college. "My bleach-blond hair, large gauge earrings, and silver nail polish made him nervous," he quips. "'What's next?' he said, 'You're gonna start wearing a dress?' "

Though Paul challenges his father with "I don't know, I might if I feel like it," he expresses what he truly wanted from his father later in the poem: "I just wanted him to get over his heteronormative, patriarchal Christian programming, and be the good person I knew that he was. What my father didn't realize was that I had already considered it all." 

He concludes the poem with a poignant thought that touched the audience he performed for. "Desire isn't something that gives us a choice any more than the moon chooses to call the tide. Like the universe, identity is infinite and indescribably beautiful."

Paul, a Providence, R.I., native, is a nationally acclaimed poet who is also involved in human, environmental, and animal rights activism.

Check out his performance in the video above.

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