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Coming Out Stories Gallery - Brian

I knew I was gay since I was thirteen. But because of the small town I lived in, the narrow minded family I belonged to, and the church I attended, there just wasn't any benefit in coming out. All around me I saw what people thought of gay's. They were ridiculed and made fun of in private and often to their faces. So it wasn't until my twin brother and my older brother individually but on the same day were taken to emergancy rooms with heart problems that I realized I was going to die hiding my secret and living an unfulfilled life, ALL because it was easier to be something for everyone else instead of just being me for myself.

All that changed in the summer of 1998, when I met a wonderful man who showed me that he loved me for who I really was, a gay man. Finally I knew I could be loved as a gay man, that despite what others might think of me, I was capable of being accepted for who I really am, not just for who I pretended to be for the sake of others.

So, in August of 1998, I came out to my wife, my church and my close friends. It meant losing all the 'friends' I had (not a good sign when a so called friend turns their back on you because you are gay), breaking up a seventeen year marriage, being fired from my job because the owners were also members of a fundamentalist church, and risking losing my eight year old son. It WAS worth it. My son accepted me for who I am without a second thought and he accepted my lover instantly. I got a new job where I am out and the people are much better to work with. The divorce, while it took six months and almost went to trial, did not restrict my access to my son. My mom still hasn't dealt with it, and my brother thinks I'm really off the deep end, but my sister is great!

The only reason I can think of for not coming out sooner if I had the chance to do it over again is that I probably wouldn't have such a great son. Other than that, I wish I had came out when I was younger because when you wait until you are almost 40 to come out, it's like learning to walk again. In so many ways you start over with your life. If it wasn't for a fantastic partner and his understanding, I'd be out and single and probably very lonely.

I encourage young people to be true to themselves as soon as they can. Whether that means coming out or not to them is for them to decide. Just don't be afraid to come out because you fear losing friends, family etc. REAL friends and caring family will accept you (sometimes it takes a while). And living OUT has a freedom that nothing else is like.

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Drop a note to Deborah at gaylesissues@rslevinson.com

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