That means that it is a good day for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people to be honest with themselves and with those around them.
Seventeen years ago on this date I came out to the first non-gay person that I told, an employee who supported me from the beginning.
I had a family consisting of a wife and two children. Coming out is not easy.
Recently our home burned. The rainbow flag survived. (One day I will write about the house fire and share more pictures. I'm not ready for that yet.)
Among the ashes I found a letter that I had written to my other employees. I want to share some of that today. Parts of the letter are too personal to make public.
I hope that writing this letter is the hardest thing that I ever have to do, I don't think I can go through this pain again. For years I have been living with a terrible burden, with hurt and with fear. You will never understand this because you have not gone through it. I have tried every way I knnow to resolve, to ignore, to change myself, to MAKE IT GO AWAY. But it never will. I now realize that I can't change. It's a part of me that has always been there. I thought I was in charge, maybe I was, but I no longer am.
I am gay. Think back, you won't find it hard to believe. maybe hard to believe that I am admitting it, or that I'm telling you.
Without revealing too much about myself I have known this for 20 years, since I was in college.
(A couple of "too personal" paragraphs).
You may not understand what is in me that forces me to be honest with myself and with my world but hopefully you will understand that I am the same person you have known for years. I'm not a bad person, I thought I was doing right then. I know I am doing the right thing now.
(A couple more "too personal" paragraphs).You can see how I struggled. For some it is not as difficult, especially in 2012, with positive gay role models and the internet and facebook and Modern Family. But in 1995, it was a struggle.
One other last thing. A couple of weeks ago B**** asked A**** and me if people just wake up one day and decide they are gay. No they don't. They struggle. They know it. Then one day they realize they have to accept it. It's not easy. But one's sexuality is not a decison. How one deals with it is.
Everyone comes out in their own time, when they are ready. For me, it was October 11, 1995. But even a week or so later when this letter was written, you can see that I was not entirely comfortable with who I was. But I have grown. I have educated myself. I have become an advocate, and an activist. And my, how things have changed in the past 17 years. We now have a president who supports marriage equality for gay people!
Happy National Coming Out Day, 2012