#NationalComingOutDay – My Story

coming-out-day-oct-11In 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.

Let Your Gay Kids Be Gay – They Were Born That Way

Homo young

I can say now that I knew I was gay when I was around six, although I didn’t know what I felt was called “homosexuality.” At that time (in the late sixties and early seventies) there were no gay role models, no support from peers or adults, no one to talk to about what I was feeling. I most assuredly could not talk to parents about it. Most of the information I could find about homosexuality was outdated and negative, and the name-calling from kids at school was devastating. I fought against my feelings and desires as hard as I could for over 20 years. I even got married to a woman at 19, and we had a son five years later. It was three years after that when I could no longer live in denial of who I was – and had been since birth – GAY! I was finally ready to accept what I had been hiding (and hiding from) for so long.
No child should have to suffer or hide – like I did – in their growing-up years. My advice to parents is this: Kids KNOW when they KNOW, regardless of age. Please be supportive and loving. Celebrate and encourage your child to discover the greatness that is within them. Your gay child needs you to be there for them. And you’ll all be better for it.

The Beach Boys Outed Me in 1968

I came out as gay publicly in 1990. Well, it’s not like I published a tell-all book, or gave an exclusive interview on TV. What happened was I had been married (to a woman) for nine years. We had a son who was a three-year-old at the time. And I could no longer live a lie. So I confessed to my wife, filed for divorce, and told my family (they already really knew).Then began the long journey of self-identification. A journey, I might add, that I will continue until the end of my long and illustrious life. Soon after, I met my partner, and we have been together for over 20 years. That’s the down and dirty of it.

But that is not what this is about. I came out when I was 28, but I was born gay. All of us homos are. The argument by heterosexuals is that gays choose to be gay. That’s very easy to say when you are born as a heterosexual! Ask a straight person when they decided to become that way, their reply is always, ” Well, never! I was born this way!” Thank you. Argument over.

I was thinking about when I realized, when I knew in my heart and soul, that I was gay. I was seven. It was 1968. I was a first-grader. I had never heard the word ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’ or for that matter, the word ‘heterosexual.’ In the coming years, I would hear plenty of words; words like sissy, faggot, homo, and queer. But in the first grade, I didn’t know squat. I had a brother who was sixteen and beginning to find his inner hippie; it was 1968 after all. Anyway, he was the only one of my brothers who had his own room. My other two brothers and I shared a bedroom for most of our childhoods. This brother had a record player, and he had a lot record albums. When he wasn’t around, I would go into his room and look at his records, and the record covers. There was one particular album that interested me. It was The Beach Boys cover showing a drawing of them on the beach, shirtless, with their arms around each other (there was a bikini-clad girl ion the cover too, but I never looked at her). Seeing this image for the first time stirred before-unknown feelings of admiration, desire, and longing. I wanted to be in that picture. I wanted to have my arms around those men. They looked so happy.They looked so masculine, and beautiful. I didn’t have a clue at the time what any of those feelings were, or what they meant. I only knew I felt something, and that feeling never went away.

It took me many years to recognize that my seven-year-old self was feeling an attraction to men. I hid it, kept it a secret, and said not a word about it to anybody. I knew having that feeling was wrong somehow, that boys were not supposed to have those feelings. But those feelings never went away. And they helped me to become the man I am today.