Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Coming Out: A Personal Story

New York City remains a relative easy place to live as an openly gay man. The vast majority of elected officials support their gay constituents, hundreds of clubs, bars and restaurants cater to gay New Yorkers in neighborhoods across the city and most New Yorkers accept gay men as another facet of their city's rich diversity. Yet it is naive to think every gay man is fortunate enough to live in a city where difference is celebrated as a strength.

It has been nearly six years since I first came out to myself in a small town laundromat in Central New Hampshire. The experience remains a defining moment in my life because of the support I received from my friends, my community and most importantly my family. My mother brought up this obvious fact during one of our almost daily phone calls last night. Her brother who lives in South Texas is the first person on a list in his community to receive a kidney transplant. I was elated to hear this news but my mother suddenly interjected my uncle respects me despite my sexual orientation. I paused for a second because she caught me off guard. A sense of happiness [and relief] soon followed and I am almost certain my mother could see me beaming on the other end of the phone.

I rarely think about how my sexual orientation differentiates me from other people any more because New York continues to provide me with the space to live as how I want to live. My uncle and the vast majority of my family will probably never fully understand why I am attracted to people of the same-sex. I will most likely never understand the reasons for my sexual orientation either. But I am truly blessed to have a family who accepts their son, their nephew, their brother and their cousin without condition. I am truly blessed.

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