Coming Out With Your Story

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October 11, 2018

“Coming out” was never a singular moment for me. I had to come out many times, in a variety of ways to my family. I did put myself in considerable harm’s way by running away from home in my high school junior year, but my experience growing up in New York during the 90s was still undoubtedly safer than the path of many who came before me in the movement.

As we honor National Coming Out Day and raise up respect for where people are on their journeys, we must continue to look forward, lifting one another up in a continued battle for equality. But we must also be introspective, willing to watch the rearview mirror and keep in mind those who fearlessly paved a path for all of us today.

My path to Lambda Legal was like so many of my colleagues, as an LGBTQ person who wanted to figure out how to make the world a better and more just place for everyone. I especially wanted to do this for kids who felt like I did at 16. That path led me through New York’s famed queer institutions like the LGBT Center, SAGE, and GLSEN.

But I was no longer working in the LGBTQ movement when I experienced the gut punches of both the horrific Pulse nightclub attack, and then, the election of Donald Trump.

As a native New Yorker, I had strong opinions on whether Trump would be a friend to the LGBTQ community and everyone living with HIV. And it was around this time, sad and scared, that I began to think about how I could better serve our community again. To that end, in a way, I came out again—This time, as Lambda Legal’s Digital Director.

National Coming Out Day

A few years have passed since I got on a bus with a one-way ticket heading as far from New York as I could go. Today, I have the tremendous privilege of sitting in this seat. I am able to come into work every day with a visible photo of my partner on my desk, without fear of that being cause for discrimination. I can use a photo of me holding the rainbow flag as my default public photo on all of my social media profiles.

I am able to speak openly to you today, because organizations like Lambda Legal have made this city, this country and this place in time a fairer and more just place for LGBTQ people and everyone living with HIV.

Whether your story is still being written or you’ve got many closed chapters behind you – I support and salute you today.

You are whole, you matter, and you are not broken. If I had believed all of the terrible things I’d been told about LGBTQ people back in the 80s, 90s, and even today—trust: Chances are I wouldn’t be sitting in this seat—out, proud, and dedicated to all chapters of the movement.