Fear is an Interesting Animal

Today I reached out to three men who’s name I received from our Human Resources area that are interested in being part of the planning process for my company’s new LGBT resource group. All three are gay and work in different parts of the company. I reached out to each man individually and had conversations that were easy, rich and enjoyable. I shared an overview of my coming out. We talked about the purpose of the planning meeting for the LGBT resource group, and each man shared about their own lives. It was really very nice and so rare for me to have this kind of conversation in the work environment. Continue reading

Is The Gay Showing?

I’ve never been a public figure. In fact, when I began to work after college, I remember consciously making the decision, because of my homosexuality, to keep a low profile in the world. I knew that being gay did not lend itself to many white collar professions at the time. And to borrow a line from Panti’s Nobel Call at the Abbey Theatre, I was afraid the gay would show. So I did my best to keep the gay hidden by hiding myself. Continue reading

Moving Through Fear

Every step of coming out of the closet, even when you are already out, has an element of fear. Today in a staff meeting the head of Human Resources announced the formation of Resource or Affinity groups at our company, starting with LGBT and Veterans this year, followed by others next year. She also announced that I would be the executive sponsor for the LGBT group. Even though I had come out to everyone at the meeting, I was surprised how nervous and scared I was. It felt like stepping on the world stage and being very out and very public. Continue reading

The Down Low vs Coming Out

Down Low (noun, adjective,verb): a word used to describe men who are secretly involved in sexual relationships with other men while maintaining casual and/or long termr elationships with women.

note:condoms optional (don’t ask don’t tell)

From:Finding The Down Low

For the majority of my marriage I was faithful to my wife, but there were a few quick, hidden outlets for my attraction to men: glances at men on the street and gay pornography. Gay and bisexual men who are married or in a relationship with woman, and who want to meet other gay men, usually find themselves on the down low. Sex with men, if had at all, is quick and fleeting. Postings on Grindr or other smart phoneapps have countless headless torso photos with men looking for ‘discrete’ or’NSA only’. When you’re living a marriedlife, and your wife is not aware of your same sex interests, there’s verylittle opportunity to develop any meaningful relationships with other gay men.

Coming out, on the other hand is transformative. I had dinner recently with a close friend ofmine and we discussed how life had changed for us since coming out and movingout of our marriages. For the first time in our adult lives we could developmeaningful friendships and relationships with other gay men. Very quickly the no strings attached hook up,which was the only thing available to us as married men, looked dull and empty. We found that we could build healthy gayrelationships with other men that continued over time.

The Down Low

One of the problems of being in the closet is that it’s hardto imagine having a deep, meaningful relationship with another gay man when theonly outlet available is clandestine. Throughout my marriage the idea of buildinggay friendships seemed outside the realm of possibility.

I’ve marveled how different my gay relationships aretoday. They are deep, caring, out in theopen and honest. The Down Low doesn’thold any attraction for me, and when I meet men who want something more ‘discrete’I steer away. The Down Low, and all thesecretive dangerous sex that goes along with it, is really, in part, the effectof the weight of society or culture keeping a man in the closet. It’s tragic because it destroys lives.

I grateful to be alive now when the world is changing sorapidly and the possibilities for a full happy live for gay men are a reality.

 

 

Coming Out Later In Life

As I’ve gotten to know other men who have been married and now identify as gay, separating from their wives has come with various levels of pain. I count myself among the lucky men, because as difficult as it was to move out of my house and separate from my wife, starting a new life has been wonderful in so many ways. I have felt a freedom, honesty and integrity that I never had before, ever! The pain of hiding, since puberty, my sexual orientation, is gone.
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