P R I D E…
This was something I never ever had for myself as a gay man. I used to be homophobic. I refused to wear rainbow or go to any gay pride parade. The homophobia was from self rooted hatred that I can’t explain. It’s one thing to suffer from insecurities based off of your appearance but it’s another to hate yourself because you are gay.
I come from a conservative Republican family. They are very religious and Christian. This played a role in me being scared to come out. Besides all the homophobic and prejudice kids I went to school with. Every other word was “faggot” this or “faggot” that…
People don’t understand this and they never will, but I knew I was gay since I was a child. Just as I am sure straight people knew they were straight since they were children, but a lot of them lack empathy to understand a gay person’s experience.
My first obsession as a child was the wizard of oz. I collected dolls of each character and of course Dorothy was my absolute favorite. Judy Garland invented pop culture when she played that role. The pig tales, the blue dress, and of course the ruby slippers. Those slippers were like a mix of red glitter and fire popping out of high heals and exploding in your face. They were so beautiful that red became my favorite color and still is to this day.
There was something about the song “over the rainbow” that always stood out to me. It obviously became a staple in the LGBT community. It helped influence the rainbow flag which represents the LGBT community. This song meant so much to me at such a young age.
I think because it’s about a girl who felt so lost and just wanted to find happiness like others were able to find. She felt like something was missing from her life…Maybe it was that her home was not really a happy place and she just wanted to escape to somewhere prettier, happier, and healthier. She just wanted to love herself and be free. (Reminds me so much of Britney Spears as well every time I hear it…)
That is relatable for me especially since I was suffering from self hatred. I hated myself, I hated that I was gay, I hated everything about it. It was an embarrassment and I prayed that no one would ever find out. I love the version of the song that Judy Garland performed when she was much older. She broke down crying in the middle of the song and you can just feel the pain she was suffering from and going through. It gives me chills to this day when I hear it. Again, reminds me of the pain that Britney Spears must be going through.
After the wizard of oz, my next obsession was the spice girls. Baby spice of course was my favorite. I think her pig tails reminded me of Dorothy so she stood out to me the most. They were so iconic and I also collected all the dolls, lollipops, and stickers. The first concert I ever attended was the Spice Girls “Spice World Tour” in 1998. Ginger Spice quit the band and I was so devastated and disappointed that all five of them weren’t at the concert that I cried about it…I was seven years old by the way.
Shortly after the Spice Girls, a new pop princess came around. And just like Dorothy, she also rocked pig tails. Her name was Britney Spears, and she ended up being someone I became a life long fan of. FREE BRITNEY! (By the way)…
I was so obsessed with Britney, I would dream about meeting her. I saw her Oops I did it again tour and every tour to come after that. I’ve been following this woman since I was nine years old. From the very beginning till now.
The issue was, by the time I hit my puberty years, I realized that if you were a boy of that age and obsessed with Britney Spears it most likely meant you were gay. I was starting to realize I was gay so I did my best to cover it up.
I also became obsessed with Madonna when I was a pre teen, and something about being obsessed with Madonna felt a little less embarrassing than Britney Spears. Madonna was a bit over the top with being sexual, but she also was kind of grunge and a rocker chick when I was in middle school when her American life album came out. So I was more out there with being a Madonna fan, but to cover up my Britney obsession I pretended to love Eminem and was more out there with my love of hip hop, rap, and punk rock music.
I had a shrine of Britney posters on my wall but when friends would come over I’d frantically take everything down and switch it to Eminem. Then I would frantically switch my wall back to normal when they would leave. One time I accidentally left one picture of Britney up on the wall and my friend asked why she was up there. I was so embarrassed I lied and said “cause she’s hot”…Sure okay….
My parents would take me to all of her concerts and I’d beg and plead with them to not mention it in front of my friends or class mates. If friends tried to make plans with me when I had a Britney concert I’d always lie and come up with an excuse or give a bull shit reason as to why I was unavailable. Which didn’t sit so well with some of the needy friends I had back then, a pattern of friendships I struggled with going into adulthood…
I remember we would get these planners in middle school and in the back it would ask survey questions like “who is your favorite singer?” “Favorite movie” etc…I put Britney Spears as my favorite singer of course and her film “crossroads” as my favorite movie.
One day, I went to use the bathroom, and left my planner on my desk. It was my private planner so who would grab it and read it and go through it, right?…
I come back from the bathroom and there it was, being passed around in a circle of kids, all of them making fun of me and laughing at me. They couldn’t believe I wrote “Britney Spears”, it was hilarious to them. I remember being so upset and embarrassed I choked and lied and said my cousin wrote those things, it couldn’t possibly be me! Nobody believed that…
Then one day the next year, in middle school, it just so happened that Britney Spears, yes the one and only princess of pop, BRITNEY JEAN SPEARS, was shopping at a boutique called “Blush” around the corner from school. A friend of mine was freaking out when someone told us and I tried so hard to come off as unbothered and as if I didn’t care. Even though I was shaking and dying inside.
My friend begged me to go to Blush with her to try and meet Britney. And I was like “ugh okay fine!” Even though I was screaming and crying inside and wanted to die. Was this really gonna happen? How do I play it cool? How do I pretend like I don’t care? What if everyone thinks I’m gay if they notice that I actually am obsessed with and love Britney? Do I let this get in the way of my everyday childhood dreams of meeting Britney Spears? I literally would dream about it every night…
It happened. She was so beyond nice, it was only my friend and I in the store. She hugged us, asked us if we had a pen, got a sharpie from someone in the store and signed a piece of loose leaf paper I ripped out of my notebook. She even asked my name first snd spelt it correctly when she signed the paper without me telling her the correct spelling and I was just in heaven.
For a moment I forgot that I was embarrassed, I forgot that I was always pretending to hate her, kind of like Helga in “Hey! Arnold”…She was so mean to Arnold but secretly was obsessed with him and had a secret shrine of him she kept in her closet. In a way I was like that with Britney.
That was the best day of my life, but I was mortified afterwards because everyone figured it out and made fun of me. They realized I did indeed love Britney and I just kept denying it over and over again.
As I got older I realized how relatable Britney Spears was as a person for me. Every time she had a struggle or hardship in her life that happened, it coincided with the struggles and hardships I was dealing with and facing. I saw a woman who was so strong through all her ups and downs and it helped give me strength to be myself more.
Later on when I became an adult and came out of the closet I could not shut up about my obsession with her. I think because I held it in for so many years, I finally became proud of being a Britney Spears fan. Even more proud of that than being gay and coming out of the closet.
Being gay was something I always struggled with. I hated anyone who was overly feminine or flamboyant. I hated that people would have these over the top wild parades every year, in my mind it made the LGBT folks look bad to the homophobes and transphobes out there. I didn’t want to participate. I didn’t understand any of it.
I was out but I was only friends with straight men and women considering I had a few close lesbian friends. It almost felt like I was friends with homophobic people who only accepted me as their friend because I was also homophobic. I wasn’t over the top or very flamboyant and they were able to feel comfortable with sharing their homophobic views and rhetoric with me. It almost made me feel comfortable with myself knowing these people accepted me into their lives. It made me feel like I was different and better than the rest of the LGBT community.
Well I was wrong….The truth is I had those negative thoughts and feelings because I hated myself. I hated that I did have a side that could be considered “feminine” or “flamboyant”…I hated that I was hiding that part of myself as much as I could just as I hid being a die hard Britney Spears fan as a kid. Being hateful and ignorant towards my own community made me feel more accepted by society and I almost hate myself for once having that ignorant and selfish mindset.
Through the years, after traveling to Vegas several times to see Britney Spears in concert, and joining various Facebook groups, I was able to connect with all types of people who are in the LGBT community. I’ve made many close LGBT friends, I have embraced that June is pride month, and even have gone to pride parties and events and have had the time of my life. I have gone to the parade and had so much fun. Thank you so much Britney Spears for also helping me be more comfortable to be myself and accept people who were just like me!
Pride is important because it is something that all of us in the LGBT community struggle with or have struggled with at least once in our lives. Where not only were we looking for family and loved ones to accept us and be proud of us, but we struggled with being proud of ourselves and sometimes even each other.
I have been harassed, beaten, and almost killed for being who I am. And when those things happened I never was overly flamboyant or out there as much as I became after those things occurred. I was called “faggot” countless times and have had friends step in for me. I’ve been called “bitch” and “pussy ass faggot” when telling straight men to back off of my girlfriends when they would try and force themselves on them no matter how many times they told those men “no” and to leave them alone.
I have a few stories but they will never ever compare to what others have been through. Unfortunately so many LGBT youth (and adults) have committed suicide for being bullied from their peers or disowned from their family members and it’s truly so sad.
What’s even more sad is that I’m now almost thirty one years old and it’s 2021, we’ve lived through a pandemic and so many horrible life events, and homophobia is still very real and alive to this day…
What is sad is I see straight men so disgusted by the LGBT community that they don’t understand it when they see little boys playing with dolls, it’s disgusts them to their core. I’ve seen people believe in all types of conspiracy theories about gays trying to force their “life styles” on children and the rest of the world. They even refuse to be involved with other important social causes such as “Black Lives Matter” because they feel it has a secret gay agenda to try and break up the “traditional family values”…
It’s gone beyond religious beliefs folks. I am pretty sure the morons who eat this shit up are closet cases themselves to be honest…I know these things because I still deal with people who are only friends with me because they feel I’m not as flamboyant or out there as other gay men are. They even have told me this to my face. But the difference is…Compared to years ago I do not and will not tolerate this nonsense…I do not take that as a compliment…I tell people off when they share these hateful/ignorant views with me. I let them have it. I let them feel as stupid as they sound. I will not put up with it and I will NOT accept that shit in my life.
It took me years to be able to accept myself and be proud of myself but I am glad I finally can reflect on the past and admit how stupid, ignorant, and wrong I was. I hope some other gay men out there behaving the same way are reading this right now and realizing they need to change and be more supportive to their fellow LGBT brothers and sisters. I hope a homophobe is reading this right now and realizing what a toxic cancer they are to society.
I am very lucky and blessed to have a family who is supportive. I didn’t think they would be, and maybe things were a little awkward and uncomfortable at first, but they truly came around and had my back even through heartaches and hardships. My grandmother, god rest her soul, was beyond supportive and always would joke and tell me she hoped I’d find a nice rich man one day.
I am lucky to have friends who are a great support system, who are allies, and always had my back as a gay person since I first came out of the closet to now. I am very lucky for the friends I’ve made cause of Britney Spears. They are the strongest LGBT allies I’ve ever met in the world who are just beautiful souls inside and out…
With that said, if you don’t like the idea of pride month and parades, kindly and respectfully….Go fuck yourself…Same goes to people who don’t think that Britney Spears deserves her freedom. Her testimony coming out right before pride just shook me to my core and made me deeply depressed. But her speaking up for herself also showed me just how strong she is and reminded me of that! It helped me also feel stronger than yesterday…
I am in the middle of moving and packing for a brand new place and I can’t wait to share my story and experience about that soon :) Happy pride folks! FREE BRITNEY!
Louis Capici works in the health field and plays a role in saving lives. He writes on the side to express his views and thoughts on life.