LGBTQ+ Pride Month

Brandon Stansell On Coming Out And Finding A Home In Country Music

"Now I know it’s one of the best parts of me."

Like a lot of the community, coming out was a hard time for me.

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I grew up in a small town in Tennessee in a pretty conservative Southern Baptist family. When I came out at 22, though, that same family — that I adored — didn't really know what to do with me. They had a harsh reaction to the news. A lot of things were said and done that we all probably wish we could forget. So the initial experience of being myself inadvertently left me feeling unloved, alone, and scared.

That was a necessary kind of sadness because, fast-forward a decade or so, and I am very happy to say I don't feel that way anymore. Coming out opened me to a real, joyful life. It took me a minute to get here, but I am so proud of the person I have become. I don't know if I would be this person if I hadn't gone through the things I did. So, it makes me thankful for where I come from and it makes me thankful for the path I took to get me here.

Courtesy: Brandon Stansell

Perhaps most of all, it makes me thankful to be a part of the larger LGBTQ community, or family, that I love — and that has embraced me so wholly. This process has shown me that I am far from alone in any facet of my life or experience. Even in the world of country music, where I thought I would never find my place, I have found a home.

So for those of you like me with stories like mine, remember that no matter what you may be going through, this is only the refining process and you will be a better, stronger version of yourself when the fires die down. Also, remember to look around. Help comes from your community if you let it and if you reach out.

Growing up, being gay was the thing I was most ashamed of. Now I know it's one of the best parts of me.

You can follow Brandon Stansell on Facebook, Instagram, SpotifyTwitter, and YouTube.

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