I first admitted to myself that I was gay — and not that I just dug guys — when I was 23. I had returned from serving a full-time mission to Montréal Canada for the Church and had been at BYU for just over a year. It was late at night, and I and a friend were up into the wee hours chatting about all sorts of things when, from nowhere, he asked if I were gay. I paused... groped for an answer... then stuttered "yes". And from there began my inexorable journey to full disclosure. Today, I am out to any who care to know. I don't announce it from the rooftops, but if the topic of dating or the like comes up, my being gay will likely come up. All my coworkers and neighbors know... my mom and siblings know... my friends in my ward know, as do countless others.
It wasn't always like that, though. In junior and senior high school, I knew I dug guys, but never considered myself gay because everyone knew that gay men were pedophiles and wore leather. So how could I be gay? On my mission, I'm guessing everyone but me knew... but no one ever said anything. And then it all changed that one night over at Don's place. The next morning — Sunday — I went and spoke to my bishop, confiding in him, and he thanked me. He was especially grateful because Adam, my house- and room-mate, had come to him earlier that week begging for help, as he was convinced that I had a crush on him (I did), and my bishop had no idea how to breach the subject.
A little over ten years have passed since then... and I am no longer weighed-down by that secret, but instead live life with confidence — and even, sometimes, with grace.
I'm thankful to the friend who asked — but even more so to my Father in Heaven and my Savior, Jesus Christ, who have comforted and guided me my whole life, and in whom I have an abiding faith.
So there you go: my coming-out story... and a testimony.
For me, they go hand in hand.