Growing Up Hayden


We’ve named our blog, Growing Up Hayden because we feel it’s a testament to what it is to live in the now, in a world where the LGBT community is fighting for acceptance and equality.  Our content is focused on all aspects of what it is to live, love and thrive in what’s still a very judgmental world.  Growing Up Hayden is a live narrative that we hope will continue to illustrate positive changes and a more and more loving, open and welcoming world.

Trying to Get Hitched in Alabama?

nunst002Alabama’s latest response to the SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage would be brilliant if it weren’t so ignorant.  From what we understand, the state is apparently considering banning marriage licenses for good.  In other words, if everyone can get married no one’s getting married.

Is this liberty and justice for all?  More like injustice for all and horribly un-American.

Are you or have you recently tried to tie the knot in Alabama?  If so, we want to hear from you.  Write to us and share your experience.


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The Time I Ended it With a Guy Because He Was a Homophobe

The Time I Ended it With a Guy Because He Was a Homophobe

It wasn’t long after the local pride festival ended in this little provincial town you may or may not have heard of: London, England. I had been seeing this guy (we’ll call him John Doe) regularly on and off for a few months. After many meals shared and quite a few bottles of wine, I figured he knew enough about me. Or so I thought.



It was an afternoon like any other in London. We were lolling about, talking, about nothing in particular when he became rather outspoke and upset about the recent pride festival.

“I don’t understand it,” he said. “Why does there have to be a festival?”

I didn’t say anything, just listened because I wasn’t sure exactly what he was asking.

“I mean, I’m straight but I don’t have to have a week-long party about it.”

“Spoken like a privileged male,” I said disappointed in yet another typical and rather unenlightened response one might suspect from a white, straight male.

Dodging my barb, he carried on, “I mean, come on. It’s just not normal,” he said.

“What’s not normal?” I asked looking at him square in the eyes.

He reiterated his point about how he thinks it’s a bit much to take over a whole city to celebrate one’s sexuality.

Again I listened and waited. But this time I listened with every bone in my body because something told me this was just a little itch of a conversation. I could already feel that when scratched, it would reveal a whole other layer to this person I had not yet seen or experienced.

For a moment, I commiserated for my fellow Londoner. Yes, the way they close off streets is disruptive. “But,” I said, “it’s really important to see thousands of people gathering together to celebrate something in order to bring awareness to it. Don’t you think?”

He scrunched up his face before I could end my sentence.

I felt myself starting to prickle. Somehow, I knew what was coming. We’ve all been in these conversations before; on Facebook, among family and sometimes even friends. Who agrees with what and their reasoning. But I’d never had this conversation with someone I was romantically involved with. I hadn’t needed to. I’d never dream of being with someone who wasn’t supportive. And until this moment, I was convinced this guy was supportive.

“I’m sorry but I just don’t think it’s normal. God created man and woman and that’s what a family is.”

He went on but I stopped listening. Suddenly I felt sick. All of my favorite people flashed past my heart; I thought about my closest friends, their families. I got up from my chair, walked to the other side of the room to physically distance myself from him, carefully calculating my next words, biting my tongue as long as I could so that I could channel the surge of red, hot anger I felt rising inside my chest.

He kept on, oblivious. “Think about it,” he said. “These people are sick.”

That’s when I lost it. Quietly, I asked him, “You think you have a choice?”

He cocked his head to one side, not quite understanding the concept.

“You think you get to choose? You think somehow you get a choice in the matter between being attracted to men or women?”

He retracted a little, softening his tone. “I just think it’s not normal.”

“Well, actually, what’s not normal is the way you think,” I said, unable to pretend not to feel hostility towards him.

He blinked. I wasn’t sure what astounded me more, his arrogance or his ignorance. His attitude against gays was something more than what he realized — it was against me. A straight, white female; the female he had a vested interest in.

Furious, I asked him, “Do you not realize that I dedicate a whole lot of my time and energy, heart and soul to eradicate mentalities just like yours?”

He opened his mouth but I spoke first.

“I’m sorry but I don’t have room for you or your mentality in my life. Not when all of my closest friends and business partners are in a community you find not normal or, ‘sick’ as you say.”

I opened the door and waited.

He looked at me in disbelief. “Are you kicking me out?”

I nodded yes. “I’m sorry but I don’t have anything else to say to you.”

“Shame,” he said then grabbed his jacket and left. I didn’t walk him out. When I heard the front door close, part of my heart fell on the floor. It was shocking. How many conversations had we had about the things I’m passionate about? Had he been pretending? Holding his opinion back? Was he trying to make an effort to open up? I had no idea but the truth is, prior to those five minutes, I actually liked the guy. He was beautiful in a lot of ways. Good to me. Generous and adoring of me. I felt sad for him more than anything. How horrible and scary it must be to be so trapped in such a dark world.

I suppose I had a choice. I could have engaged in a conversation with him. I could have tried to change his mind, let a little light in. The truth is, that kind of unenlightened, unevolved mentality only responds to consequence. And as a consequence to his antiquated dinosaur mentality, he’s losing out. On me, on all the best people in my life that he’ll never get to meet because of his own puny, sad ideas.

He walked out of my life and my world opened up again. My hope is that maybe his has too.

What’s Your Story?

We have a lot of exciting things planned for 2015.  One of those things is to launch a particular part of our website, entitled “Your Story,” dedicated to featuring members of our community.  The “Your Story” page is still in the making but soon it will be going live and will feature compelling stories from inspiring individuals, everyday all-too-often-unsung heroes.  These are people who we’ve been lucky enough to meet along our journey as we’ve built Hayden’s List, people we’ve seen on Twitter and reached out to or people who have written to us.   We can’t wait to make a space for these individuals, to pour their light right back into the community so that it may be a beacon for us all.

Do you have an inspiring story?  Do you know someone who deserves to be featured on our website?

Write to us.  Tell us your story.



What’s Your Story?

What’s Your Story?

It’s been four days since National Coming Out Day.  Surely there are some stories to tell, y’all!

The Huffington Post has a series of celebrity coming out stories which are fun to sift through, but to be honest, we are more interested in the general population.  We want to know your story.

Whether it’s one of coming out or staying in, if you feel like sharing, we would love to listen.

So, do tell.  Contact us with your story.

P.S.  If you need some inspiration about others who have shared their stories, visit this website we love:






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