As a tie-in with the new film Love, Simon, People magazine has launched a series of videos called Coming Out Stories. The series features Love, Simon director Greg Berlanti, The L Word creator Ilene Chaiken and Tyler Oakley. However, one of our favorites is the Anthony Bowens Coming Out Stories episode where he talks about the acceptance that made him leave the closet for good.
In the video, Bowens talks about knowing he was bisexual early on. However, he was worried to come out. He describes the first time he came out; it was to his best friend, Greg. Bowens was 19 years old, and was having a hard time telling anyone. He stumbled so much, Greg first asked if Bowens was dying. But when Bowens told him the truth, Greg just said he wished he’d known sooner — and that Bowens would always be his best friend.
History would repeat itself. Bowen goes on to say that, as an athlete, he was worried about staying in the closet. He said, “As athletes, you’re a very close-knit group of people. You play on the field together. You’re changing together. You’re showering together. It made me unsure of, like, hey, if I did come out, would they accept me?”
Bowens talks about the guilt he had in asking his boyfriend, Mike Pavano, to keep their relationship a secret. When in a YouTube video, Pavano introduced Bowen as his boyfriend, Bowen at first asked for the reference to be edited out. But when he saw the hurt on Pavano’s face, he relented — thinking no one would see the video anyway.
Bowen describes how, three months later, his fellow wrestlers discovered and had all watched the video. Meaning that they knew — but their only question for Bowens was why he hadn’t told them sooner. Like Greg, his teammates told Bowens they loved him and cared for him — and, above all accepted him.
That acceptance gave him the courage to finally make it official with a Facebook post announcing his bisexuality to the world. And, as it turns out, that went well too!
Watch the Anthony Bowens Coming Out Stories episode below:
Featured image by Ricardo Muniz via DNA magazine