At Fast, we believe in bringing your whole self to work. During Pride Month 2021, we’re celebrating our people by sharing their coming-out stories.
Conrad Corpus insists if you knew him when he was 19, you knew. But being gay was news to his mother, who decided to ask Corpus.
“My mom came up to me in the hallway, in our house and she said, ‘Hey’ – she had this look of anguish on her face – ‘I think we need to talk,’” he recalled. “In those few seconds that we walked to my bedroom, I knew that this was it. My mom's going to ask me if I'm gay. Just come out with it.”
They walked into Corpus’s bedroom.
“‘Are you gay?’ I'm like, ‘Yeah.’ And she was shocked,” he said. “‘We had no idea. And in my mind, how can you not know? I asked her how this came about. And she said, ‘Your dad and I, we had a talk a few nights ago. We noticed that you've been hanging around with this one guy for some time.’”
This man was Corpus’s first boyfriend. They spent days together, then weekends, entire weeks, and they planned to travel together to Europe. His mother did not ask about his orientation until after their second trip to Europe.
“I was a little nervous,” Corpus remembered about that day. “I was a little upset that my mom was so shocked by it all. The other thing that I asked my mom was, ‘Does Pop know?’ And she says, ‘Yeah, because he's the one that brought it up first,’ which surprised me.”
Corpus’s father was working in the backyard, his mother told him, and he wanted to speak with him afterwards, around lunchtime. Corpus planned for the worst and told his partner what just happened.
“He said, ‘OK, I'll be parked right in front of the house, just in case anything happens. If you need to run out the house and just get the hell out of there, with your bags packed, I'll be there waiting for you,’” Corpus recalled.
But he wouldn’t need that ride.
“My dad said, ‘We love you no matter what, and you're always going to be our son,’” Corpus recalled. “I knew that that was not something easy for my dad to say, but the fact that he's the one that said it and not my mom, surprised me because I've always felt like I've had a strained relationship with my dad for the longest time.”
Today, “they’re very accepting,” Corpus is happy to report.
Before coming out, life was OK, but Conrad said, but he didn’t know much about himself.
“I didn't know what it meant to be like a Filipino American, growing up,” he said. “I didn't know at the time before coming out what the reality would be like living as a gay man, not only a gay man, but a gay man who's a Filipino American.”
Corpus’s coming-out story went much differently than the heartbreaking experiences many LGBTQIA+ people, especially youth, live through. For those who are struggling with coming out, Corpus said there’s no rush.
“But if you’re going to come out, it’s really important to have a support network, even if it's one or two people. And when you do plan to make an announcement, let your support network know the day, the hour that you’re going to do it, so that they can be there on standby to support you physically and otherwise.
Everyone should come out in their own time, Corpus added.
“When you come out,” he said, “I believe it is a huge weight off anyone’s shoulders.”
For allies or people that members of the community come out to, be thoughtful, Corpus said.
“It's never an easy thing, but when someone comes out to you, know that they're telling you something that's really important about themselves,” he said, “and that a lot hinges on that moment of, of coming out.”