If you were gay growing up in the 1960s and ’70s on the buckle of the Bible belt, you told no one. Keeping secrets was the key to survival. If you weren’t allowed to dance in public, then for God’s sake, there was no way in hell you could be a homosexual.
My journey out of secrecy was slow and wary. It took me away to a small liberal arts college where I met my wife. The journey gave me a wise son with an old soul, and a strong daughter with a tender heart. Along the way I made friends and enemies. Hiding was just a part of my daily routine.
Finally at 53, there was a courage that stirred my imagination to fathom speaking the words of coming out, but where did that courage originate? Why had I been unable to utter these words until my fifth decade? Why did I decide that living my authentic life was more important than spending the rest of my days in the normalcy of love that my wife and I had?
This TEDx talk affirms the power that courage, grace, love, and peace had in helping me—a married man in his fifties—come out. And how each time I spoke my truth, God leaned in and whispered, “See there, you’re enough just as you are. You’ve always been enough.”
My story represents the narrative of so many men who grew up with the fear of hell and the shame associated with the “sin” of being gay. It also confirms that abundant joy and peace are patiently waiting for all of us as we slay our own personal demons and make our way out of the cave.
I hope you enjoy listening to my story. So it is with great excitement and ten extra pounds from the camera, that I share part of my story. In joy.