For our May brotherhood feature, we are shining our spotlight on our sibling, Lorenzo Cole from Atlanta, GA. Lorenzo has been a member of Beta Gamma Chi––Region 2 since September 2018. Although he is affectionately loved by all of his brothers, we knew there was no one better to interview him than his Brother’s Keeper, Jamal Tate from Wilmington, Delaware.
When asked about his childhood, like many LGBTQIA folx with traumatic childhood experiences, Lorenzo began laughing uncomfortably.
“I try not to relive my childhood because it was not the best. Growing up, I was the only child for eight years. It was peaches and cream until other siblings came along, stealing my joy.”
Lorenzo admits that he was spoiled, but despite his selfishness, he was a good kid.
“Coming out for me was really hard because, of course, mom didn’t care for it; grandmom, at first, didn’t either. It was hard at first but I had to look at the big picture––either stay in the closet and be miserable or just come out.”
Looking for an escape from his abusive step-father 17-year-old Lorenzo moved out of his mom’s house and moved in with his grandmother. After transferring to a new high school, he dropped out in his senior year and began working full time. A few years later, he enrolled in a dual-enrollment program where he took his GED as well as finished some college courses.
Although this period was difficult, Lorenzo’s older cousin was his main source of strength.
“It was like I had someone I could actually talk to that had been through [the coming out experience]. He was someone I could vent to.”
Despite his teen years being traumatic, Lorenzo learned a lot about resilience.
“Seeing my mom work hard for the things she wanted, and work hard for the family, made me want to always work hard, [be self-reliant], and keep pushing.”
As a twenty-something-year-old, Lorenzo continued to learn more about himself and life’s experiences:
“Never think that something cannot happen to you. When you get to thinking like that, more than likely, what you think won’t happen, will happen. In my teens, I used to volunteer for a drop-in center, and they used to preach to us about HIV/AIDS prevention, and I used to always say, ‘I will never get that. I will never get that.’ In my twenties, I realized that ‘I’ll never get that’ [turned into] ‘you’ll end up with it.'"
However, Lorenzo has made a promise to make the most out of life. One of his biggest accomplishments was breaking away from his “crutches” at home.
“When I up and moved to Atlanta, I basically said I have to go and lean on myself to survive and make it, instead of falling back on grandmom or auntie. If I would’ve stayed at home, I wouldn’t have gained independence because every time I would’ve fallen, they would’ve picked me up.”
Lorenzo has since gotten married and found a home with Beta Gamma Chi.
“I was watching everything that Beta did for a year and a half before I decided to join. What brought me to Beta was the bond and the brotherhood that the whole organization thrives off of. That’s what I was looking for. What has kept me here is the vision. I see a lot of potential in the fraternity, and I can see Beta lasting for centuries.”
When asked more specifically about brotherhood, Lorenzo said,
“When you see a brother feeling down or going through a rough time, reach out to them. Try to uplift them and encourage them. Let them know that they have brothers here for them.”