Sitting in an empty locker room, my phone in hand – I knew I had to do it. I was about to be late for ballet class so I pressed call, the phone rang then rang again. My Dad answers, I remember just trying to breathe. Knowing I could not hold on to this secret anymore I just spit it out, “Dad, I have something to tell you. I am gay”. There was a silence and I heard my dad start to cry. He said “I always knew one day I would get this call”. Nothing in me wanted to be gay; I was surrounded by religion and taught that this lifestyle was simply a choice. I then started reading ex gay books, seeing counselors and doing everything they asked me to do. I was determined to do whatever necessary to be straight.
Shortly after, I was accepted as a trainee with the world’s premier Christian ballet company. This had always been my dream to dance with this company! This was going to be the perfect place to dance and work through what I thought then was my homosexual “problem”. Before the program started we were required to sign a contract. This contract was filled with a ton of rules including “no homosexual behavior allowed”. I signed and was ready to start this new chapter, a straight one!
I submersed myself in this program and in the idea that I could be healed from homosexuality. After a year I started dating my best friend, Elizabeth. She and I had the best friendship; if I was going to marry a woman I wanted it to be her. I still had same sex attractions but believed wholeheartedly they were not permanent. Elizabeth knew about my past, my desire to change and completely supported me.
A year went by and I still had same sex attractions, they were actually stronger than they had ever been. I was beyond frustrated but just kept praying and pleading harder. God had healed so many other areas of my life, why wouldn’t he heal this one? Elizabeth and I decided it would be best to split up. I needed time to deal with this.
The next six months were very dark and terrifying, I felt like I was losing my mind and spirit. Those around me continued to tell me that being gay was a choice. This is something I too had always believed until this point in my life. Why would I choose to be what in my current world was an outcast, hell bound sinner? If I had any choice it would have been to be straight, that simply was not who I was. This was continuing to eat at me and I knew that I was going to have to do something. I became so depressed that I thought suicide was the only option. In my head, if I continued to live I would have to accept that I am a homosexual, which would send me straight to hell. I thought if I killed myself and did not give myself that option to live as a gay man I would go to heaven. This belief became stronger and stronger and I was starting to believe this was the only way to save myself. I sat alone in my apartment planning how I was going to do this when I emotionally broke down. As I was curled over I felt this amazing loving presence physically embrace my body. This was the turning point when I realized that this was not the end, but the beginning. That loving presence which I call God allowed me to reach the bottom so that I could except and love who he made me to be.
Shortly thereafter I left the Christian Ballet company I was dancing for and came out to everyone. I didn’t have to hide anymore – I was free! This was definitely hard for my family and many of my friends to except. Time went on, they all started to realize that I was the same Zac I had always been, actually even better than before. I saw many of my super religious family and friends start to question what they had been taught. They learned and grew with me and this brought my family and I closer than I ever could have imagined. I went on to continue dancing and touring the world and am now living in Los Angeles pursuing my second passion, photography.
Now I can honestly say I love and except myself just the way I am. I no longer worry about what others think of me or if they are judging me. Elizabeth Gilbert said it best, “Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation”.
Watch Zachary tell his coming out story on KirstyTV below.
Follow Zachary on Twitter | @ZacharyTristen
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