creator and editor Nathan Manske creator and editor Nathan Manske
A new website,, allows LGBT community members to write short stories about their hometowns and growing up LGBT. Below is a short story by actor Corey Spears (“Traffic,” “Journey of Jared Price”), who was born in Florence, S.C., and spent time as a child in Columbia and Charlotte. Spears’ story is just one of many submitted on the site. Nathan Manske, pictured right, is the website’s founder and editor. He and his site are featured in The Advocate’s September issue. Manske describes the website as a “gay, true-stories blog,” and was inspired to create the site after viewing the film “Milk.”

I’m from Florence, S.C.
by Corey Spears
I had an idyllic childhood with best friends in the identically-styled houses in front of and behind me. Summers were spent at Myrtle Beach and my family was always the chaperone for friends of my sister and me. Though we were nowhere near rich, we could not have been happier.

My mom left my father in 1985 when I was 10 and moved us to Columbia, S.C., and finally to Charlotte, N.C. My formative years took place in those two cities. It was there I realized that I was different. My friends became so important to me, especially the male friends. There was some teasing, but because of a friendly disposition and hyper athleticism I was able to skirt the horrible names of some of my classmates.

I fell in love at age 16 with my best friend who I played soccer with. He was gorgeous with big green eyes and beautiful skin. The relationship did go far but I was never able to say I love you. Those words were the most pervasive messages in my head. And because I knew he was straight, those words never could be said out loud. I knew I was gay once I had fallen in love with him. Coming out followed shortly thereafter but unrequited love leaves holes that coming out cannot fill.

Being in love is what determined my sexuality. I never understood why I was called homosexual when that term felt so limiting after falling in love. How about homosensual?

Did you grow up LGBT in the Carolinas? Head to and contribute your story.