In the now-distant past, the notion of coming out as gay was so terrifying, I waited twenty-eight years, endured a nine year marriage, fathered a son, and tried everything (short of conversion therapy) to convince myself that my attraction to men was “just a phase.” But to my consternation, those feelings would not go away. I was miserable, living a life I knew was not authentic, not true to who I was as a human.
And so I did what had to be done. But even the process of coming out was done reluctantly, slowly, in jumps and starts. I came out to my wife (she sorta kinda already knew), and we divorced due to “irreconcilable differences.” I came out to my family next, with the most common reaction being, “It’s about time!” Shortly after that, I met my partner, Larry, and we’ve been together ever since. That was twenty-six years ago.
It wasn’t as easy coming out in the 1980s as it is today. The acceptance of sexual orientation (both inwardly and publicly) has grown year by year. But there are still obstacles to overcome when coming out. Even with marriage equality being the law of the land, it is still legal in 31 states to be fired for being gay. And there is no Federal protection status for LGBTs. But the progress has been remarkable for us, for ALL of us.
So, on the 27th anniversary of National Coming Out Day, to those who are afraid, or reluctant, or are just waiting for the right time, I say to you, “Come on out, the weather’s fine!” And know this: you will always have a great big, world-wide family that welcomes you, cares about you, and loves you just the way you are.