This afternoon my aunt passed away. She was 89 years old. Like all things in the internet age, I learned about my aunt’s passing from a text message my mother sent to her five children and her three daughter-in-laws. “Sadly,” it read, “Aunt S. passed away, very peacefully, about 2 hours ago. I have made arrangements for the funeral home to pick her up. When it is convenient for all of you, we will have a family service at my home.” It was not really a surprise. My aunt’s health has been declining for a very long time. While I feel very sad at the loss of my aunt, I also know that her long suffering is finally over.
Today I am an out and proud gay man. I am out in every facet of my life. But this has not always been the case. I began dating a woman in 1990, who I fell in love with, and we married two years later. We have a 19 year old son together. While I had know about my attraction to men since I was fourteen, and told my wife when we first started dating, I only began to come out fully about five years ago, and subsequently moved out of my marriage almost three years ago.
Given how Trump has dominated the news for months now, and the recent complete descent of Trump events into violence, it is hard to imagine how a President Trump would govern this country. The way he incites racial hatred, religious hatred and violence does not bode well for the United States of America. I can imagine Trump supporters, during a Trump presidency, quickly becoming disappointed and angry when he can not fulfill his promises. He will be unable to deliver everything he has said he will do to, “make America great again,” given the limits of presidential power. I can imagine a president Trump pushing the limits of presidential power or even circumventing the rule of law to have his way. I can imagine military leaders refusing his orders. I can imagine Congress refusing to follow his leadership. I can imagine impeachment hearings. I can imagine Trump turning to wars, invasions, strong man tactics against anyone he dislikes in order to divert attention from his failures as president.
A quote that I love and keep on a piece of paper on my desk at work, from a Washington Post article a few years ago, is this:
“Life seems to be a continual act of coming out, isn’t it? The boundaries we think are uncrossable, the unnamable corners of our soul that we live in fear of bringing to light . . . are the very regions that allow us to feel complete if we dare to explore them. So thank you for crossing borders, shining a light into those corners — they only make you more lovable, more admirable.”
I love this quote because it reminds me to be who I am, and how coming out makes me more true to who I am and more complete.
There was a man I got to know as I began coming out. Gary and I met on Grindr on a Friday evening in the Fall of 2011 as I sat in a restaurant, near Dupont Circle, eating dinner. I had just driven into Washington, D.C. from work and was grabbing a quick bite before heading off to a support group meeting for gay, bisexual and queer men who were, or had been involved with, or married to a women. Gary and I continued texting on Grindr over the next week and soon arranged a meeting. We immediately liked each other and had a good deal in common. My relationship with Gary never became physical but we soon became good friends and spent time together going to art movies and exploring the cultural scene in Washington, D.C.