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I knew I was gay ever since high school, when I caught myself feeling attracted to the guys who changed in the locker room next to me before gym.
I never told anyone about my feelings, even though by senior year I was 100% certain that I did not find girls attractive in the slightest, but for fear of what my family and friends would think, I decided to hide who I was rather than bear the burden of their disapproval.
For me, college was finally the time for me to spread my wings and experiment with my sexuality the way I wanted to, not the way society thought I should. I purposely applied to colleges clear across the country, all the way on the west coast, with the hidden intention of completely reinventing myself into the man I wanted to become; a proud and out gay man.
After taking a year off from high school, partly to save up some cash for school and partly to put my parents at ease about living so far away, I took a 5 day bus ride that got me all the way to Los Angeles.
I arrived about three months before my classes started so I could get used to the area and learn the lay of the land so that, when classes did start, I wouldn't be a complete fish out of water.
Now, I don't consider myself a corn-fed country bumpkin, and the city I was from was a pretty big city in comparison to surrounding towns, but it was nothing like Los Angeles.
Where I'm from, places actually close, and streets actually become deserted after about 11pm. Not in Los Angeles, baby... not by a long shot.
When I got my apartment, about three blocks from a not so great area of the Sunset strip, but still walking distance to all the attractions that people make a point of visiting when they arrive in L.A.; I made it a point to explore and see as much of the city as I could.