A Story About A Boy
In July of 1969, I was approaching my ninth birthday.
In Chicago, the Fourth of July celebrations at my Aunt Dorthy’s house were special. During the school year, I lived with my mom in rural Indiana, but each summer (along with every vacation and holiday) I stayed with Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Mike in Chicago. My great-grandmother, who I called “Little Grandma” lived with my aunt and uncle. It was a whole different world than my life in Indiana, and it was my refuge.
Aunt Dorthy & Uncle Mike had no children and they were enthusiastic hosts. Aunt Dorothy always had something planned - from trips to Chicago’s pristine lakeshore to shopping at Marshall Fields to soaking in the atmosphere at the famous Walnut Room. My aunt relished taking me on adventures and knew the perfect places to go. I loved those times and I learned a lot about myself during the time I spent there.
When I talk about finding your authentic self, I am always taken back to those summers with Aunt Dorthy, Uncle Mike, and Little Grandma. Their zest for life, along with their safe home and unconditional love gave me the freedom to be myself.
I remember my attraction to other boys as far as I can remember. Growing up in Indiana did not offer the resources or guidance that was needed for a boy like me. But I sure did sing and dance my way through school. Performing in every musical and choir performance I could fit in my schedule.
I married a girlfriend from high school shortly after school. She actually asked me, “Hey you want to get married or what”? I remember she said to me that if I had a “normal life” growing up, maybe I wouldn’t have gay tendencies.
We were married for 25 years, with four beautiful children. My oldest son is a fireman, my twin boys have their own film production company and my beautiful daughter is an event planner.
Realizing it was time to stop living a lie, my wife and I divorced and I was free to breathe and live!
With the full support of my kids, friends, and close family, I married the man of my dreams on August 30, 2015. It was on that day, that I truly felt like my authentic self. To stand in front of everyone who meant the most to me and declare my love to my husband was a moment I still cherish and hold close to.
Our wedding day was fabulous! Getting there is another story.
It’s a story that starts out with such great excitement, but turns ugly when I’m told, “We don’t do gay weddings.” I’ve never felt so dirty, humiliated, and pissed all in the same emotion in such a short span of time.
Something has to change! Something has to be done!
And so my advocacy for more inclusive awareness education and training begun!