My name is Matthew and for me coming out was not an option, I was forced out. It all started when a friend asked if he could film myself and the guy that I was involved with. I was extremely against it, so I said no, he ended up doing it anyway. As soon as I saw the camera I knew it wasn’t going to be good. I got him to stop immediately and told him to delete anything that he may have gotten. He said that he did and me being the trustworthy person I am, I believed him. I found out the hard way that he didn’t. I have been told about the next part by some of my real friends.

A few of the guys at the shop were talking and he said he could prove that I was gay, they didn’t believe him so he snuck in to the house and filmed us.  He then went back to work and showed the film to the rest of the guys on shift. Thus proving that I was gay. From that point on I knew that my life would never be the same. The part that was the most concerning to me was that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was still in effect and I was worried sick about the repercussions of the video. Due to the worry of DADT, the ridicule at work, and the feeling of violation I became very depressed and it almost cost me my life. I was at such a low place in my life I attempted suicide and luckily I had people in my life that truly cared about me and got me the help that I desperately needed.

After I returned from the hospital and went through treatment I was in a much better place. I struggled for a long time with my demons. I tried to hide the fact that I was gay. I finally came out to my friends in December of 2012 and it was one of the happiest days of my life. They were extremely supportive of me and nothing changed with them, it took a little bit longer for me to come out to my parents. I came out to them in the spring of 2013. That is by far one of the happiest days of my life. They were very accepting of me and they continue to love me just the same as they did before I came out.  Due to me coming out and living my life without secrets I have been much happier and am able to move forward and help others that are struggling with coming out.