Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Seven years and counting

Life is often marked by personal and professional milestones and today marks seven years since I came out to myself. I made that fateful decision while waiting for my clothes to dry at a laundromat in Bristol, New Hampshire. It was a cool and rainy May morning, and I had just completed an intense leadership development program sponsored by my alma mater, the University of New Hampshire. I had come to the realization during the five day program that I needed to acknowledge what I had long suspected and come clean -- for a lack of a better categorization -- to myself. One of my group's co-facilitators, who remains one of my best friends, followed a similar path the year before, and his guidance remains an immense source of strength and inspiration. I came out to myself as a bisexual man via my journal, but the rest is... well... history...

Coming out remains a life-changing decision for the arguable vast majority of LGBT people in this country and around the world. One of the more hurtful things that came out as a result of my experience was a gay man at UNH who rather arrogantly tried to convince me of my own personal internalized homophobia in order to potentially justify his own self-imposed superiority complex. I was 19, but words, as they say, truly hurt and it took me a long time to eventually move beyond them. But coming out truly transformed my life. I was finally honest with myself, and the process put me onto the path which eventually brought me to New York, to Fire Island and to this craft we call journalism. What a truly magnificent ride it has been!

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