I am so much happier now that I am able to live openly and authentically.

I am so much happier now that I am able to live openly and authentically.

Ken is a PR and photojournalist volunteer for Stories For Love based in California. For the first time, he is celebrating National Coming Out Day! Here is his story.

Have you ever listened to a song that so perfectly captures a deep, defining experience in your life?

I had to press pause to figure out how the magical, musical sorceress knew me so well. That song for me was “Love In the Dark” by Adele. Of course, a queer boy relating to an Adele song – it’s almost cliché. Go ahead and play the song; it will really set the tone for most of this post. I’ll wait. I’m sure everyone has their own interpretation of the song, but the next nearly 500 words will give you an idea of my interpretation. 

Over the past two years I’ve been coming out of the closet.

I told my family and close friends who I am and whom I love. I’ve stopped hiding it from everyone else. This was a huge deal for me, just as it is for every other individual who does it. I never would have imagined that I would be where I am today three years ago.

Three years ago, I was three years deep in a relationship with a guy who I really loved.  We’ll call him Jason because I’m not sure if he is out yet. When we started dating, we were both closeted college guys. Over those three years we became pretty serious, and fell in love. We started thinking about what our lives could be, together.  We eventually started talking about marriage and starting a family, but we never spoke about coming out to our friends and family during our planning. Coming out just wasn’t something he wanted to discuss.

When we were together, I didn’t think about coming out. We were in our own world. It was a perfect, intermittent little microcosm that only he and I inhabited, and it made me happy.  That blind happiness wore off when I wasn’t with him, which was most of the time.

I eventually began thinking about how tiring it is to keep my secret relationship a secret.

I wanted to tell my friends. I wanted to tell my family. I wanted to them to know my boyfriend, so they would know who was contributing to my happiness.

Around the time of our three-year anniversary, I sat him down to have the coming out talk. He was against it. Jason was perfectly comfortable living our lives together with our friends and families thinking we were just roommates. He convinced me that I didn’t need to come out, so I didn’t.

Then year four started to creep up, and I realized how much I was giving up to make him happy. I wasn’t happy anymore. I was exhausted. Living a double life is tough. I just couldn’t be with him if I wanted to live my life and be proud of who I am. I couldn’t keep my family and friends in the dark. I couldn’t be his secret boyfriend. It was just a few days shy of our four-year anniversary when I ended our relationship. That was a tough decision, but I feel like we are both better for it.  

Shortly after this break up, I met someone who was so refreshingly opposite.

His name is Bryan, and I use his real name because he is out and proud. He was so candid, and so confident in his sexuality. I was instantly drawn to him. He taught me to be proud of my sexuality and myself. We began dating; and through my relationship with him, I started to feel empowered. I soon signed up to volunteer for Stories for Love. I really wanted to embrace the LGBT community and myself. Within six months of dating Bryan, I came out to my closest friends. A little over a year in, I was out to my family. I am so happy that Bryan helped me gain enough courage to come out.  

The reactions to my coming out have been so overwhelmingly positive; I couldn’t imagine a better experience.

This is my first National Coming Out Day as an out member of the LGBT+ community. It feels really good. I know people say that coming out is a scary, but worthwhile experience. DAMN, it feels so good to not have to worry about blowing my personal cover all day, every day.

I am so much happier now that I am able to live openly and authentically.

To those of you who are out of the closet: congratulations and thank you. To those of you who have yet to come out: I highly encourage you to, as long as it is safe for you to do so.

I realize that not everyone will have a happy coming out experience, and that breaks my heart. If you can’t come out to anyone close to you and need someone to talk to, there are great resources through the Human Rights Campaign and the Trevor Project.

Happy National Coming Out Day! I am so proud to finally stand with everyone who will be celebrating this year.

Thank you, Adele, for delivering a song that inspired me to write this post. 

 

I told her I was looking for a wife on our second date. On our third date, I shared that I was a cross dresser-transgender person.

I told her I was looking for a wife on our second date. On our third date, I shared that I was a cross dresser-transgender person.

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

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