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Audio Diary: Coming Out As Gay To My Family

Nick Stewart and Mindy Stewart are smiling at the camera.
Nick Stewart
KUNR Youth Media
KUNR Youth Media reporter Nick Stewart (right) and his mother, Mindy Stewart, are photographed together in Reno, Nev., on July 19.

Coming out as gay wasn’t easy for local high schooler Nick Stewart. He was worried about how his family would react and if they would accept him. In this audio diary, Nick talks about how he overcame his fears.

For years, I was in denial about being gay. I was always in fear that I would never be accepted by my family and friends. I had convinced myself until I was 14 that I wasn’t gay. It’s not like my parents were against the LGBTQ+ community, but I had this feeling that I would just disappoint them. When I say “disappoint,” I just mean I wouldn’t be able to provide them with grandchildren or have a beautiful wife, like everyone else in my family.

I first came out to a close friend when I was 13, but I had basically taken back what I said and continued the lie for months. I did this because I was just scared about anyone ever finding out because a lot of students from my middle school at the time weren’t exactly the most accepting.

By the time I started my freshman year of high school, I had this realization that I couldn’t keep this bottled up any longer. That was when I came out to my mom. Looking back, I feel stupid to think she wouldn’t be accepting. When I told her, she was just so proud that I told her, and she had started crying because she felt bad that I was scared to tell her for such a long time. That moment was really the turning point for me.

As for my dad and brother, it took me way longer to come out to them and I didn’t do it until this past October, 2 years after I came out to my mom. Their reactions were honestly a lot less emotional than my mom’s, but they were not any less proud. I think the one thing that stuck with me from that moment was just how my dad just smiled and nodded. It was different to come out to male family members than it was to female members. I guess I was just scared that I would never be seen as the masculine figure that my family would want to see, but in the end, my whole family was proud of me, and they still loved me for who I am.

KUNR Youth Media’s Nick Stewart will be a senior this fall at the Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology in Reno.

Nick Stewart is a student reporter for KUNR. He is a senior in high school and attends the Academy of Arts, Careers, and Technology in Reno. He contributed through the KUNR Youth Media program in the spring of 2021, and he covered the 2021 Northern Nevada Pride parade and festival. After high school, he hopes to obtain a bachelor’s degree in journalism through the Reynolds School of Journalism at UNR.
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