Growing up in a dysfunctional family was never something easy as I was usually distant from most people except for my "circle of a few friends" and those I worked around (actually "volunteered" as the owner of the shop usually stiffed me of my pay). Some of the most memorable times were when I was around the shop and spending time with some of my co workers/friends.
My boss and most of my co workers were gay (gay was something I had never heard of as I pretty much lead a sheltered life). Anyway, I have to say that many of the people I had met were people I was very comfortable around as there was something waiting dormant deep inside myself I had known was different but never allowed to "grow" until a much later time in my life. It wasn't until the early part of 2oo2 that the real me was struggling to come out.
With the help of online research and a very special place known as The LOFT, more and more resources and people became available that helped me to learn and grow until the inner fear would take over and cause me to find comfort back in the closet. As I struggled to overcome the fears, I would "crack open the closet door and peek out." In and out I would go until finally I decided that with the growing concerns of pain, confusion and the attempt of suicide hanging over me, I had to do something. So, finally I decided I was going to come out and not look back as I began to talk with my most favorite family member (besides my dad) my aunt whom I love more than life (not to mention she was acceptant as she is also from the LGBT community).
As the years have passed, I have continued to struggle and grow as the world deals with the various issues from war, the economy to LGBT rights. What has helped me to not give up and continue the fight is this part of me that feels like my LGBT brothers and sisters need to have as many dedicated voices and committed individuals as possible if we are going to win equality. It is a difficult and tiring fight but who said that fighting for what we believe in would be easy? People have been struggling, fighting and even dying for what they believe in, myself included!
We must continue to believe that change is coming as we have been witness to something spectacular in a country divided by hate and bigotry as Barack Obama became America's first African American President.
Equality will come if we never give up!
Keep a smile on your face and love in your heart!