I came out the day before 9/11. Here’s what growing up gay in the early ’00s taught me about bridging America’s political and cultural divides

The author in a school portrait from the autumn of 2001, around the time he came out to his parents

My parents thought I got a girl pregnant.

“Mom. Dad. You love me no matter what, right? I’m still your son. Because I have something to tell you. It’s just… I’m gay.”