Out. Proud. Public. Integrated. Whole. One.
I am an out, proud and increasingly public gay man.
There was a time not too many years ago that I could not have imagined that I would be out in a very public way and loving it. I did not understand gay pride. I just didn’t get It. Today I am out in a very public way, accepted and supported by my friends, family and co-workers, and proud of who I am. I am proud that I can truly be a man who stands with a level of integration and integrity. Today I do understand the feeling of pride from standing up and saying this is who I am.
The years of pain, depression, loneliness have been wiped away. I always knew that there was a price to pay for being in the closet, and for many years I was willing to pay that price. What I didn’t see was how powerful and happiness producing coming out could be. The power of coming out is the wholeness one feels inside. There are no more hidden compartments and secret hiding places.
I know my experience is not universal. A lesbian African American friend told me I was privileged. I am. I am lucky to be a white, educated professional who has been successful in his career. I am lucky to live in a more liberal part of the United States – in a very blue state, and have my first family and my son embrace me fully when I came out.
Two causes that have great meaning for me are LGBT health care and supporting LGBT youth. I know both are areas for disparity and difficulty in LGBT lives. Also very important to me is helping other men who have walked the same road I have–gay, bisexual and questioning men in mixed-orientation marriages who are looking for help and answers.
This weekend I am babysitting my two year old niece for the weekend. What is powerful to me is that I once wondered if my siblings would want me around their children if they knew I was gay. So even taking care a delightful two year old for the weekend feels empowering and part of my emergence later in life as a full human being, respected for who I am.
So here I sit, in the kitchen of my brothers house. The child is sound asleep after a dinner where we talked, (she has an amazing vocabulary), laughed, took a shower, looked at all the pictures on my iPhone, and then she went quietly down to sleep. It is a nice time of the evening to write. I feel content and happy with my life and how it continues to grow, expand and evolve.