Austin grew up in a very religious family. When he turned 18, his parents immediately began to choose a bride for him from their church, but guy was not interested in it. He was not interested in women at all and eventually realized that he was gay. The parents refused to put up with it and asked their son to keep it a secret, but Austin decided to be free. However, he chose the most unexpected place for confession.
Growing up, parents tell their children to be themselves -- the best version of themselves. Still, there are times when a child’s identity is refused or looked down upon by their parents.
Austin was in the same situation when he realized he was gay after years of self-deception. Growing up in a religious household, Austin’s parents would often tell him that God loves everyone, no matter who they are.
A man sitting at church. | Source: Shutterstock
However, the boy knew that his parents would not accept his true identity. As soon as Austin turned 18, the topic of marriage became frequent over dinner. His parents would talk about a possible bride for their son and selected girls from their church.
Auston was often silent during such conversations and chose not to engage. But when his parents asked which among the girls he liked best, the teen would honestly answer, “none.” His parents ignored his words and continued to discuss prospects.
One day, while jogging at a nearby park, Austin met a 19-year-old boy, Eric. Over time, they began to meet in secret and slowly fell in love. Then, one evening, Austin’s parents started talking about a possible bride once again.
A man sitting on the ground with his head down, while a person points at him. | Source: Shutterstock
Their son could no longer stand it and blurted out, “I’m in love.” His parents paused in shock before reacting with joy. The first thing his mom asked was if the girl was from the same church.
“No, not from our church,” Austin replied. Then, excitedly, his father asked for the mystery woman’s name, to which Austin replied, Eric. “Eric? Well, that’s a strange name for a girl,” his mom said while giggling.
Austin paused before saying, “that’s because he’s a boy.” The couple looked at each other, speechless, and after a moment of silence, Austin’s dad raised his voice. “What? Are you crazy? Are you gay? You can’t be gay! We didn’t raise you that way!” he yelled.
A man looks upset with his hands crossed. | Source: Shutterstock
“But I am who I am -- and I am gay,” Austin replied. His mother refused to believe her son and claimed it was merely a stage in his life. She went on to talk about what other people would say, including their priest.
Austin reassured his mom that being gay was not illegal and that he will continue attending church because of his strong faith. “Thanks, but this conversation should remain between the three of us,” his mom said.
“If anyone finds out, it will be a shame for the whole family,” his father added. Austin remained silent the whole evening, quietly went into his bedroom, and cried himself to sleep.
A man looks upset while staring at the ground. | Source: Shutterstock
The following Sunday, when their family went to church, Austin decided not to hide who he was. He believed that the best place to open his heart and speak the truth was the church. So when the priest finished his speech, Austin stood up and asked to speak.
As soon as the priest allowed him, Austin said, “Fellow followers of Christ, parents, and father. I recently realized that I was not the person I thought I was growing up. I am gay. My parents asked me to hide it, but I am free and not ashamed of who I am.”
People in the church began to murmur and look at Austin’s parents, who sat with their heads down. The priest was also shocked at the young man’s confession but immediately broke the silence.
A glimpse of a church's interior. | Source: Getty Images
“You know Austin, in the church, we are forbidden to say many things,” he said. “But we do not forbid telling the truth. You are a good man, your parents are good people, you love God, and God loves you. That’s the most important thing.”
The priest looked at everyone and continued, “We are all special in our own way because God created us like that. Austin set a good example of courage and openness, and I am glad he did it here. Because where, if not the church, can a person open his soul.”
Everyone sat in silence before a woman from the crowd exclaimed, “Well done, Austin!” After that, people began to clap and cheer for him as well, which brought his mother tears of joy.
What can we learn from Austin’s story?
1. Be who you are and don’t be ashamed of it
2. You can only live freely if you live truly
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Any resemblance in this story to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.