eryc perez de tagle

I’ve been sitting here for the past 20 minutes thinking of what to say without it seeming like I’m sending a letter to the editor of a self-help magazine. I’m reaching out to you because I feel like, although we’ve never met each other, you can empathize better than anyone else can about these emotionally draining complications I’ve encountered in regards to coming to terms with my sexuality.  I’m gay, I can confidently say that. I know that. Yet, I still find that I can’t (or won’t) act as the person I’m meant to be. It’s like I’m living life as a double agent. I’ve got a group of friends who know about my sexuality. And then I’ve got this other group, my family, who still think that I’m completely interested in what they want; and that everything I’m doing falls completely in line with their expectations. And this dichotomous social life that I’ve set up is starting to blend. And as a consequence, I’ve found that hiding is much more convenient for me than putting myself out there.

The solution seems easy, doesn’t it? Just be truthful with my parents. Everyone has coming out horror stories, and a large majority of them end in happy endings. But, how can I tell my mother that I’m gay, when she constantly asks me if my best friend’s (who’s also gay) mother ever regrets raising a gay son. I can’t be truthful to the parents who wanted me to stop hanging out with my friend in 9th grade because people might assume I’m gay by association. Pretty ridiculous, right? And it sucks, it really does. So the problems I face are not internal, rather they’re external problems that I’ve internalized — taken to heart — and it’s killing me. My pursuit for happiness is not a fantasy that I want, but rather I fantasize about a happiness that my parents wouldn’t mind me having. I’ve done a lot of growing up and I’ve realized that being attracted to men is not wrong. I’m trying so hard to keep this homosexual label from manifesting into a rain cloud that hangs over my head, never ceasing to rain. Instead of trying to be something, I simply want to just be.

The way that I keep myself hidden has affected a lot of my past relationships. My relationship with my parents is pretty rocky, but I bet you could’ve guessed that. My friends often remark about how much they don’t know about me and I laugh it off. “Oh come on, you know more about me than anyone else does.” That’s only true because they know the small amount I’m willing to tell them. Now that I think about it, I don’t think anyone knows what my favorite color is, or where I want to be when I retire. Haha, trivial things, yeah. I feel so selfish, too. I can’t explain why.  But the way I hide my emotions makes me feel like I’m waiting for people around me to notice what’s wrong and pour every ounce of effort they can afford into helping me. I feel like an opossum, playing dead just to grab people’s attention. Bleh.

It’s not easy being two people at once. I feel like I’m on the verge of an identity crisis and I’m slowly approaching the point that being miserable is better, as long as everyone else is happy.

Before you ask, yes. I’ve had a boyfriend. That lasted a month because I was afraid my parents would somehow find out via Facebook. Silly, I know.

Welp, here we are. At the end. And I can’t help but laugh because it seems I’ve turned you into my therapist. But I guess I need an unbiased 3rd party that I can vent to. I don’t want you to feel like I’m expecting some grandiose answer, some response that will cause something to click inside my head and suddenly I’ll be enlightened and everything will be better. That’s a shit ton of responsibility to place on a stranger. I guess all I’m hoping for is some insight. Now that I think about it, I’d have to say the reason I’m coming to you is that your blog helped in that process of self-acceptance. So thank you for that. Now, just to make it so everyone else accepts me for who I am.

Cory F.

ps: I like to pretend I’m artsy, so I attached a photo that represents how I’ve been living my life for the past two years.

Don’t you want to be whole? A whole person? Don’t you deserve a normal life with a family that (for better or worse) knows who you are? Of course you do. Also, I think you know this by now, it’s not a matter of if you tell your family – it’s a matter of when. You can’t keep it up forever. What are you going to do, marry a girl and pretend to have a heterosexual life? That’s absurd.
Here’s the most disturbing thing  – you seem willing to let your own happiness be destroyed for the sake of not bothering other people. You said it yourself – you had a boyfriend and broke up with him because you wanted to maintain your ‘closeted’ identity. That’s really sad, Cory. Plus you had to hurt someone’s feelings and break up with them in order to maintain your precious little ‘secret.’
Stop doing this to yourself. You’re never going to be a whole person until you can be your real self, and ask for acceptance from your family. They may or may not give it to you immediately, but when you come out to them, their homophobia becomes their problem, not yours. Does that make any sense? Part of the power of coming out is that you give away the shame. You take the self loathing, and fear that you were raised to harbor against yourself, and you give it back. Then you can start the long journey toward feeling happy and whole.
I’m not trying to make this sound easy – it took a number of years for my own family to accept me for who I am. I came out in high school, which made high school and college pretty tense between me and my parents. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I felt that my parents had come to fully accept me for who I am. But that’s my point, Cory – you have to get the ball rolling on this. It’s going to take some time for the fallout to settle and for your family to adjust to this – you should tell them sooner than later.
I know it’s scary, and you should prepare yourself for some pretty awful treatment from your family – that’s true. But I wonder if you can imagine – it’s like a heavy weight is lifted off your chest when you do it. Even when the reaction is negative. Because once you own up to yourself, you become a whole person. A person with integrity. I know you want that. You wouldn’t have written if you didn’t.
You owe it to yourself, Cory. For once, put your own happiness first. This secret is eating away at you,  causing even more shame and self loathing. It’s a heavy load to carry. Put it down, buddy.
You can do it.
We love you.


photos by eryc perez de tagle

Hey Michael: I think I spelled your name right. I just wanted to take the time and tell you I enjoyed reading your blog and I also wanted some advice.

My current boyfriend lives 2 hrs away from me and is highly attractive. He’s not out of the closet either so he won’t hold my hand in public unless we’re at the gay bar or something. He also does not want to introduce me to his friends who KNOW he’s gay. Which i find odd. He says it’s too soon. But he’s met my family. And he also texts facing his phone away from me. That really bugs me. He doesn’t text often but when he does it’s in a very suspicious manner. I’ve found myself creeping on his facebook, which is empty really, every now and then. And don’t tell me to talk to him about it because when i do, he gets very angry. Apparently, i’m asking too much too soon. we’re six months in now. So do you think i’m being paranoid or am i on to something here?

Thanks for reading.



Hey Lewie,

Thanks for writing in. First let me say – your new boyfriend is not the only ‘highly attractive’ one in the family. You’re looking pretty good over there yourself.

I’d say that you’re right to be suspicious. Him hiding his txting from you is a clear indication he’s speaking to someone he doesn’t want you to know about. Add that to the other pieces of the puzzle (he lives two hours away, he won’t introduce you to his friends, even though they know he’s gay) and it certainly creates a shady looking picture. It sounds like he could be dating or sleeping with more than just you.

But, ultimately, that doesn’t matter. Seriously. It doesn’t.

Here’s what matters: He’s been with you for six months and won’t even introduce you to his friends. He’s in the closet. He gets angry when you try to initiate communication. Dump him.

This isn’t the relationship you want, and he’s never going to suddenly turn into the type of guy you want him to be. It doesn’t work like that. You deserve a proud young man that can introduce you to his parents, or at least his friends. Someone who will show you affection in public. Someone who won’t blow up at you if you want to talk about something bothering you.

The issue isn’t whether you have a right to be suspicious. The issue is whether you’re going to insist on the type of partner you deserve. And believe me, Lewie – with a face like that (and other lovely, erm…  assets) you can afford to be picky.

Everyone should afford to be picky. Better to be alone than settle for something disappointing.

You’re a beautiful young man, Lewie. Thanks for writing in.

 Dear Michael, I am a 21 bisexual studying in a former Soviet country at the moment.
I have been reading your blog after discovering it on Vice recently.
It fucking rocks. It has helped me so much in regards to respecting
myself and loving myself more, and not being ashamed or confused about
my sexuality. I like how you said that you consider bisexuals fully
gay and straight, and that is in a way very comforting.

I also got inspired to make a crust-less quiche in our shitty
dormitory in our toaster oven. I used sour cream instead of all milk
and a little beer for the egg base. I also filled it with lost of
onions bacon and some cheese. Hope you enjoy the picture as much as I
enjoyed eating the product photographed.

Keep on keepin’ on Comrade Martinov!


Hey T –

Wow.  I hope you mean that you added sour cream to an already milk base, and you added (instead of substituting)  beer to an egg base. It looks like you did. For dorm food, it looks exceptionally yummy.

Thanks for all the praise. I’m glad you’re learning to live without some of the god-awful shame the world still persists in trying to invoke upon us. There’s always room for more self-respect and love, so I’m glad I could inspire it. Flattered even. Thanks for reaching out.

Hang in there. I feel like bi-sexual men are frequently met with a suspicious or patronizing attitude from the LGBT community. Glad you’re still willing to love yourself.

That photograph is both sexy and hilarious at the same time. Today, you win the internet.

Thanks for taking the time to write and send in your photos.


TuesDATE: The Closet

photos by eryc perez de tagle

Him:  Thanks for meeting up with me.  It’s good to see you again.

Me:  Yeah.  How’s Chicago?

Him:  Eh.  Chicago is small.  It kind of holds you down.  It’s stifling sometimes.

Me:  I hear you.  Hey, sorry about the email.  I meant to email you back and I had a busy week.

Him:  Yeah, I was wondering.  You probably get a lot of email, though.

Me:  I do.  And sometimes I’m having a busy week, and they pile up, and some of them are really long and detailed questions about relationships.

Him:  That must…  Does that ever feel heavy?

Me:  Ha…  Nah…  It’s uh…  it’s fine….


Yes.  It feels extremely heavy, sometimes.  There’s a guy I correspond with sometimes who lost his lover last year in a car accident.   He’s paralyzed with survivor’s guilt and he’s trying to find a way to mourn his boyfriend.  He’s having an awful time and sometimes I don’t know what to say to him.

Him:  Yeah.  That seems pretty difficult.

Me:  How are you feeling?

Him:  Yeah, I dunno.  I feel strange.  I’ve been in my situation for so long, that I don’t know what to do about it.

Me:  I take it you’re still in the closet.

Him:  My friends and family don’t know that I’m Gay.  I don’t want them thinking of me that way.

Me:  What do you mean?

Him:  Well, I don’t know if you noticed, but I’m Black.  So that’s always been a thing with me.  I feel like I want to be known for someone who’s me, and not someone who’s Black, and now if I come out of the closet people will look at me and see a Black person and a Gay person, and I just want to be known just for being me.

Me:  I understand that.  But don’t you think you’re making the world better by coming out?

Him:  How so?  I don’t get why I have to run around saying I’m Gay all the time.  Straight people don’t have to do that.

Me: But they do, in a way, don’t they?  Doesn’t every movie or tv show feature Straight love interests and such?  Isn’t proclaiming your heterosexuality kind of ubiquitous?

Him:  I guess so.  I just don’t want people to think different of me.

Me:  They won’t.  Or, if they do, it will only be for an adjustment period.  Sooner or later they’ll realize you’re just the same person you were before.  I think if we live our lives openly we give Straight people the opportunity to digest our sex lives as normal.

Him:  I dunno…

Me:  Well, it’s certainly a load off your shoulders, when you come out.  It feels like a heavy weight is lifted off you, and you don’t have to pretend anymore.

Him:  I’ve heard people say that.  There’s a guy at my office that I have a crush on.  I kept asking him to coffee, and I’m pretty sure that he can’t tell if it’s social or work related coffee.  I thought about that for weeks, before I asked him to coffee.  I planned it out forever.

Me:  See?  If you were out, you could just ask him out, and not worry about it for weeks.  I mean, you’d still worry about it for weeks anyway, but not for the same reasons…  Hey.  What if he’s Gay, and he likes you back?

Him:  What?

Me:  If he’s Gay and likes you back, what will you do?  Won’t he want to go places with you as your boyfriend, eventually?

Him:  But then it would be okay.  If I had a super hot boyfriend it would be okay that everyone knew I was Gay.  Or if I made a lot of money.  Then it wouldn’t matter, either.

Me:  Is that how it works?

Him:  That’s how it works.  Do you want another drink?

Me:  No.  I have an early day tomorrow.  But thanks for getting in touch with me.

Him:  Thanks for meeting with me.  It makes me feel better to talk to you.  I think you’re great.

Me:  I think you’re great too.  Can I have a hug?

(we hug for a long time)

Me:  Take care of yourself?

Him:  Of course.  Always.  But who takes care of you?


Me:  I do.

(pause.  we hug again for a long time)

Him:  Okay, bye. 

(I turn to leave.  I start walking away.)

Him: Jerk.

(a smile spreads across my face)