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.
As I’ve moved through the journey of coming out these past years, every time that I’ve taken a step forward, in spite of my fear, it has ultimately been positive. The fear door, once stepped through, has unknowns on the other side. For me, the wonder of what is on the other side of the fear door is part of the excitement. Continue reading
Today I stood in front of about 175 people in a leadership meeting for the division I lead at my company and came out. While I didn’t read from the document below, I did write down what I wanted to say in advance and used it to think through my message. I wanted to be clear and strong in what I said. Continue reading
As a teenager, when I thought about my life to come, I thought about how I would make my mark on the world. I would ask myself what I could be or do in the world where I could leave a mark? Would I be famous? I would imagine all sorts of possibilities. But it was more than being famous, it was doing something great in the world that people would respect and know me for. I think these are the questions most teenagers ask themselves. Continue reading
There’s a woman who worked in my organization at my last job, that I recruited to the company I joined three years ago. I’ll call her Jane. We’ve known each other for the past five years. Jane never worked directly for me, but always worked for someone who reported to me. Yesterday we came out to each other. Since this is work, we didn’t come out to each other directly, but another woman at the company emailed me that Jane, and two other people, a man and another woman, were interested in getting involved with the new LGBT resource group, of which I’m the executive sponsor. I was very excited to see Jane’s name in the email along with the other two employees. Jane is someone who is a strong leader and I was hoping to find a way to get her involved in the LGBT resource group. But because we weren’t out to each other, there was no way for us to have a conversation on the topic.
Between the launch of my company’s LGBT resource group, where I will be the executive sponsor, and interviewing to join the Board of Directors of a nonprofit LGBT health organization, my life is about to launch into the next phase of this amazing journey. Continue reading
As a closeted man, I kept my passions, interests, and emotions in check to keep the gay from showing. I hid from the world so deeply that I became bland, boring, quiet, and very much in pain.
Over the 20 years of my marriage, I lost interest in so many things that had once mattered to me: Impressionist art; visiting museums; pottery; design; skiing, and the list goes on. By the end of the marriage, I wasn’t passionate about very many things. Hiding the man that I am literally was took the life out of me.
Now that I’m out in every part of my life: family, friends, and work, I am discovering, for the first time in my adult life, a desire to be in the world in a very public way and give back to the LGBT community. I want to integrate my professional and personal life. The first step in that goal was to come out at work this past March. And through involvement in the resource group at my work and the possibility of joining the board of an LGBT organization I’m about to become very public.
For many years I’ve been interested in health care, starting with Medline searches I used to do in the mid-1980s, long before the internet. I began to work in health care technology about 23 years ago because I was interested in medicine. I became a volunteer EMT for 5 years in New Jersey and have continued to find work in health care IT rewarding and exciting.
Tomorrow I have an interview for a board seat with a medical center that serves the LGBT community. I’m very excited. It has been one of my passions to get deeply involved in the LGBT community in a way that can make a difference. Putting my health care and IT experience together with an LGBT health care organization would be incredible. It puts together so beautifully all that I know about the health care delivery system, health care insurance, and clinical information systems in service of a community that I now think of as mine. And it gives me a chance to grow and learn about the health needs of the LGBT community.
I really love my new life, free for the first time as an adult to become who I truly am. It’s a magical process and I keep growing and learning and stretching my wings. I learned in coming out that it’s not really about sex. It’s about being an integrated honest, sincere person in the world. I own the truth of who I am and I love it. To borrow the title of an off-Broadway musical: I’m getting my act together and taking on the road. I lived in the shadows for so many years, and now feel free to emerge as the man I was meant to be.
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.
Every step of coming out of the closet, even when you are already out, has an element of fear. Today in the CEOs 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 by how nervous and scared I was. It felt like stepping on the world stage and being very out and very public. Continue reading