I never came out for the sex. I came out because inside I was disintegrating. I came out because the cost of hiding was slowly killing me. I came out because I really had no other choice if I was going to survive.
Yes, I know that I sound overly dramatic. But the truth is, with each passing year, I felt increasing emotional pain; a growing disintegration of my emotional state; loneliness and sadness that would not go away; and intermittent depression. So truly I had no choice. To survive I had to come out.
In the few years before coming out, I knew if I didn’t do something to change my state of mind, I would be on antidepressants or worse very soon. I worried about holding down a job. Which may seem comical, because I had a high level position in a major corporation. But I was increasingly worried by the internal turmoil I felt and difficulty focusing on my work, which staying in the closet was causing within me.
When I was a teenager I would ask myself, ‘What will I do in the world that I will be known for? Will I be somebody who is remembered for something? Will I do something with my life that has large meaning in the world?’ But in the same breath, I felt that because of my homosexuality, I needed to keep my head down and stay hidden.
To my surprise, I have had a career of continuous successful jobs in information systems, each with increasing responsibility. But I always kept the gay well hidden. And after a life spent in the closet, and 30 years of work as an IT professional, no one will remember me for the systems I put in.
For the first time since my early 20’s, I feel again maybe I can be somebody in this world. I can do something important that helps other people. And the people I want to help are the LGBT community. The power of coming out has freed me in a way I never could have imagined. I feel integrated as a human being in a way I never have. And really, for the first time since I was a teenager, I think about the possibility of doing something important. Coming out really has opened new vistas that were once unimaginable.
I had breakfast with a friend of mine this Sunday who reads my blog. He told me he was concerned that I was obsessing in my writings about finding love and intimacy. That may be true. But I do feel I have a short window of time to get a lot of things done. Love and intimacy with a man are definitely in the top five of my goals. So am I obsessing? No, I don’t think so. But I’m definitely in a rush.
There is a lot I want to accomplish. I care about LGBT health care. I care about helping LGBT youth find their way successfully in the world. I know if I continue forward, as I’m doing, new doors that I cannot imagine today, will open in the future. I think coming out has given me the opportunity to make a contribution to the world and the LGBT community in a meaningful way.
Will I be remembered? Maybe, but that’s not really important. What’s important is I find those things that have great meaning in the world; that give me pleasure and joy; and that I contribute something back.
I do hope to do great things in this life. I do hope to find love in intimacy. But I didn’t come out for the sex. That’s just an added bonus.