Coming Out: Davey Wavey Tells His Story
In celebration of National Coming Out Day (October 11) Gay.net will be sharing stories throughout the month from several members of our community who not only kicked down the closet door, but continue to inspire, encourage, and give us hope for a brighter future.
Anyone who has sought gay content on YouTube has probably run into Davey Wavey, an avid vlogger (and personal trainer) known for his bright smile, sense of humor and killer pecs.
Whether decoding gay speak, holding an underwear intervention or preparing an uplifting tribute to gay bullycide victims, Wavey is on the scene. As one of the best known gay web-lebrities today, we caught up with Wavey and asked him about his experience, how fame has effected his outlook and what out LGBT people can do to help those still in the closet.
Gay.net: When did you first know you were gay?
Davey Wavey: I actually did a whole video on when I first knew I was gay (below). From enjoying the men's underwear section of Sears catalog a little too much to when I fell in love with Uncle Jesse from Full House, there were certainly no shortage of clues growing up. But in a pre-Will & Grace world, it wasn't until sixth grade that I realized there were other men that shared my same-sex inclinations. Eventually, I learned that there was a term for that — being gay — and that's when I came out to myself. A few years later, when I was 16, I started coming out to friends. And then by 17, I came out to my family.
What was it like growing up gay in the town where you lived?
I grew up in a small, quiet town wherein a guy who doesn't like sports and who has a high-pitched voice becomes an easy target. It felt like I was the only gay person. It's interesting, though, that many of the guys who picked on me have since come out. Because they hated the gayness in themselves, it was easy for them to hate it in others.
Were there any things that you feared would happen if you came out?
The fear was absolutely paralyzing. When people are in the closet, I think they tend to overestimate how big of a deal being gay is. You make up these ridiculous stories about what could happen. In actuality, most people are too concerned with their own lives to give two shits about the fact that you like dick. And there's a good chance they already know.
Of course, a very small minority of people do care — and do react in a very negative way. Kids still get kicked out of their homes. But in general, I think we tend to exaggerate the negative impact that coming out is going to have on other people.
By the same token, I think we tend to underestimate how much coming out is going to have a positive impact on our own lives. When you stop living a lie, you open up a tremendous amount of free space and energy in your life. It's freeing. It's liberating. It feels like you've just taken a 10-pound shit. You feel like you can fly.
How did you tell your friends and family? How did they react?
I was pretty resourceful. I told my mom in person by playing 20 questions. 20 questions became 40 questions before my mom finally asked, "Is there a boy that you like?" We did the obligatory cry, and then my mom said she was afraid that I'd die of AIDS. She also thought that, at 17, I was too young to really know. But that was many years ago, and she's come a long way since then. It's important to remember that time can really help — and if it took me 17 years to become comfortable enough to tell my mom, I can give her some time, too.
My dad reacted a lot better, and my friends were totally supportive. If they weren't, then I guess they wouldn't have been true friends anyway.
Some people in the closet feel ashamed for not feeling able to come out. What would you say to them?
Shame isn't a good motivator. I'd remind people that each and every day, we have the opportunity to create the life we want — and that we don't need to live as prisoners to yesterday. Coming out may have some real and huge implications for a minority of individuals, but life is too short not to live the life you were given. It's always a good time for you to live your own life without worrying about the expectations of others.
How has being a fit, funny web-lebrity effected your views of gayness and the importance of self-expression?
Being a YouTuber has connected me with many wonderful people — gay, straight and otherwise — from all across the world. I'm grateful that many of these individuals have shared their challenges and struggles with me, and I feel fortunate to have a platform that I can use to brighten their days and share a message of love — even if it's wrapped in a few penis jokes — that I think our community needs to hear.
What can out people do to help make the world more accepting for LGBT people who aren't yet out?
Just because you're not out doesn't mean you can't stand up for other LGBT people. I use my platform to spread a message of love — and there's no reason why anyone else can't do that. It doesn't matter if you have 20 friends on Facebook or 90 million views on YouTube. The size of the audience isn't what matters. Use whatever you've got to support the people in your life.