Originally Published on March 21, 2017 on Prowdr.com
By December 7, San Diego resident Makana Rowan had reached his boiling point. That night, he opened up his computer to Facebook and launched into a stream-of-consciousness rant. “I was struck by how personally I took the results of the election.” He remembers. He had to get it out:
“I didn’t have the courage to come out until I was 29. This weekend (my boyfriend) told me he loved me for the first time and I experienced a feeling I never thought I was going to get to. I am more motivated than I’ve ever been in my entire life. I refuse to lose even an inch of progress.
Someone has already driven by and yelled, ‘Trump!’ at us.
I know my love is as valid and valuable as everyone else’s. I won’t hide, censor myself, or live in fear because I want coming out to be easier and less scary for future generations.
I am here. I am proud of who I am.”
Makana posted to the Pantsuit Nation page—a group that shares people’s stories about how the election has affected them. He closed his laptop, and went to bed.
The next morning, he woke up to discover that his post had gone viral. With tens of thousands of comments and likes, he was overwhelmed. As he began to read the comments, he realized just how many people had connected with his declaration. One of them was a fifty-year-old man who wrote that Makana’s post gave him the strength to finally come out. “I was just bawling after reading that. I started direct messaging him, and we’ve exchanged a couple of messages.”
Makana was born and raised in Hawaii. He had a strong Christian upbringing, and attended a Southern Baptist high school. “All of that certainly added to my late coming out,” he acknowledges. For years, he pushed off the inevitable. He’d known he was gay since childhood, but like many of us, he made excuses, and kept his sexuality a secret.
Finally, it came to a point where his health was affected. He developed an ulcer six months before his thirtieth birthday. His body was telling him that the stress of hiding his truth was too much. “There’s never going to be the ideal time to come out,” he admitted. “It finally got to the point where I just had to do it.”
He chose his thirtieth birthday to make it official. He rented a house in Palm Springs, and invited his closest friends. Over the course of the weekend, he came out to everyone individually. Within a week, he remembers thinking,Why didn’t I do this fifteen years ago?
Now two years later, Makana firmly believes that coming out later in life created what he refers to as the bottle-rocket phenomenon. “I’m making up for lost time. I try to always be visible, verbal in my sexuality, engaging with people, and introducing my boyfriend and myself immediately.” He wants to be a role model for LGBTQ youth. “I don’t ever want anyone to go through what I went through. It shouldn’t be that hard.”
Makana has gotten involved with the local LGBTQ resource center in San Diego. He interacts with teenagers who are coming out in high school, which is something that is completely new to him. While he admits he’s a bit envious of their timing, he recognizes that coming out during the teen years can also be complicated, and he’s determined to make it, both, easier and less scary for them.
As of this writing, nearly 85,000 people have commented or reacted to his post.