“To Be Black And Gay In Alabama”

A reader writes:

I commend you so much for doing that story on Anderson Cooper. I'm a 20 year old black gay male living in Alabama right now and I am so close to giving up on life. I have no real friends, no one I can trust. I did manage to win prom king, everyone in the school knew I was gay and to accomplish that much respect in 2009 was just an amazing feeling I will never forget… But sadly people in my family always had it out for me. My mom used to say "I will love you no matter what" but actions speak louder then words.

I'm pretty sure she knows about me, but I still haven't till this day been comfortable to come out and say it to her. Once I had a friend that thought it was her place to tell my mom about my sexuality and I was so hurt. We were best friends and after that it was over. I felt so betrayed because that was my place if anything. Yet my mother never brought it up.

I have had suicide attempts in the past.

I was put away in a hospital for five months. DHR had to intervene, because of all of the anger and resentment there. I have just been through a lot. I don't and can't take medicine even if I wanted to because we can't afford it. I keep getting taken advantage of every job I get. This is Alabama and there is racism still here, believe me, very clear to the eye. I was a cashier once and I still had people throwing money down at me. It's one thing to be black, it's one thing to be gay, but to be black and gay in Alabama even in 2012 it's still extremely hard for me to just even live, and people do not understand.

I'm always having to worry about my little brother and sister getting teased at school or their friends constantly asking them if their big brother is gay, and it's just really humiliating, and I feel so sorry for them. My heart just breaks every time I think about it, and please believe me when I say it's definitely not something I flaunt around. After one of the suicide attempts to have someone in my family say I'm just doing it for attention, I knew that was confirmation on top of everything else of how they really felt about me.

I had dreams to become a big singer/dancer an overall entertainer but now I'm to the point right now where all I think about is death, (every day) and more so now then ever and I think about it way more than I think about a future. This world is just so evil and so backwards and just not right and I'm honestly to the point where I can say it's only going to be a matter of time :(

We looked around YouTube and found a video uploaded by our reader, who gave us permission to post it and the email as it appears above. He also uploaded a video of him singing a Frank Ocean track and did so months before the artist came out.