I started flirting with her prior to really knowing she was attracted to women.

I don’t remember having any assumptions about her sexuality, but I figured she may fall on the spectrum given that she worked at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. We always had all these awkward run-ins at work. I saw her as a really smart and experienced seasoned clinician. I was just starting off in this career, so I felt intimidated. I surprised myself because I did not stop pursuing her.

Sharing our story opened our eyes to realize that we can inspire others in ways we never thought we would.

The positive outpour we received from our posting on Pantsuit Nation has reignited our positivity in humanity since the election. We didn't realize how important the statement we made was to people like us. When you are living your everyday life, you don't recognize that you can serve as an inspiration to other people. Sharing our story really opened our eyes to realize that we can inspire others. I had a girl reach out to me expressing she was in the same boat as I was. Her family, who are Trump supporters, rejected her when she came out as a lesbian. Our story helped reignite her drive of knowing there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 

I'm a father of five, grandpa of two, and mother of many.

Someone once told me they needed an event where people in the community can learn from one another. They were looking for a way to bridge LGBT issues and information, talent, community, and art. From religion to politics, and fashion to music, there was a need for a place where everyone could come under one umbrella and be affirmed. Black, white, straight, gay...everybody. Pain has no color, no race, or no orientation. When we come together and share that bond, and we find the light in each other. The Ask Rayceen Show in DC creates that space.

I was married to a guy, and I recently realized I was settling and not being true to myself.

When I was younger I knew I was attracted to women. My family was very against that, and that was not what was expected of me. I'm separated from a man now, and we are still going through a divorce. I told my parents I was not going to be dating men anymore, and they were caught off guard since I had been married to a man. My family thought it was a phase. A phase is 6 months, I've had these feelings since Jr. High. Within the last 8 months, I've seen a huge change. I don't get anymore snarky remarks. My family and friends were really religious. It was not okay to be gay in the bible, so they were not accepting.

I’ve known I was gay since I was 5 years old, and I never felt that being gay was something that I needed to justify, so I never actually came out.

There is only one side of "gay" being shown to the world through parting and drinking. We are just as worried about saving for retirement, and buying a house, or paying tuition for our children. The LGBT people of the past were not fighting for the right for us to party, they were fighting for the right for us to live.

Our LGBT Wedding Expo is a safe space to express your love.

"Say I Do LGBT Wedding Expo is a safe space to express your love. It feels like family. No matter the different background, and different cultures, everyone is just here to express love. Being in a room where people encourage your love story is the greatest gift. This expo gives people more confidence to express their story. Now is a great time for the community, and everyone is loud out and proud. We are an LGBT Wedding Expo, but we are straight friendly. It’s a place where you can understand how to love other people better."

Disclosing Your HIV Status

"I remember hearing about HIV on TV, but my family was certainly not talking about it, and High School was not talking about it. I knew the basics, but didn’t have a firm understanding of the disease as a whole. I dropped out of high school, and when I turned 18 I moved to New York. When I got off the plane I felt liberated and free. I got into a relationship and I remember a particular night where I felt like I needed to talk about HIV with the guy I was dating, but I was mortified. I didn’t know how to talk about it. Instead of figuring it out, I decided to not talk about it. I remember thinking that if I made him feel a certain way, he would think that I don’t love him. At no point did I say I should ask him, because I care about myself. I let fear stop that conversation from every happening."

"Over time it got easier each day. I still got left on dates, but I started moving past that. I started setting goals and seeing my value. I knew the hardest part about finding myself was going to be challenging myself. I finally looked into the mirror and said 'yes, HIV looks like me.' It was so liberating, I lived my truth, and I lived without hating myself. I just started living. My love story involves me forgetting to love myself. Long before we can talk about same-sex marriage, or happy and healthy relationships, we have to talk about a healthy relationship with ourselves and what loving ourself truly means."

"I wanted to talk about my HIV status with the same level of casualness that I talk about the color of my hair. Overtime I realize I could get a head of the fear. By disclosing my status it meant that I could own my truth."

"My situation came from someone who was not brave enough to disclose their status, and I lived in a ‘well I don’t sleep with guys who are positive, and so if I don’t know then it must not be an issue’ type of world. That is ignorance."

 

The Most Popular Guy in School

"I did gymnastics for a while, so my dad encouraged me to get into cheerleading. I cheered for an all-star team and then cheered in college. There is a stigma around men cheerleading, but not all people to who cheerlead are gay. Some people think gay means walking around in heels, dressing in drag, and wearing makeup. That was my first impression of being gay from watching TV and movies. That is not what it is like out in the real world."