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.