Why I Give a Damn
My name is Tex. I’m a 35-year old gay professional who lives in South Carolina. I struggled with my sexuality most of my life. I can remember being in elementary school and being more interested in the boys than the girls. Even when my friends were making that transition from “girls are icky and stupid” to dating them, I was more interested in my gender. I had always heard I’d grow out of it, but I never did.
I was in love with my best friend. We went through junior and senior high school together and I never told him how I felt. I was afraid that he would reject me and our friendship would be ruined. Even when he went off to boot camp after high school, I just said a teary-eyed good bye and spent the next few months in agony missing him.
I tried to be straight. I dated a few girls, but it was never serious. I dated one girl in high school for almost two years and I even had her move out to Charleston with me when I was stationed there in the Navy. Needless to say, we were “serious” but things didn’t work out and she moved back home after a few months.
I went to church to try and get God to change me. After all, being gay is a “sin,” and I thought if I turned to God and confessed this sin that He would “fix” me. It never happened.
I served in the Navy for almost six years. I spent that entire time in the closet, never being true to myself. I was paranoid that someone would see through my facade and I’d end up in Levenworth for falsifying my enlistment documents. (Yes i joined just a few months before “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” and they could ask you if you were gay.) I loved serving my country… a country that really has no love for me.
Other than the few months I had my “sweetheart” living with me, I never enjoyed the touch of someone I loved. *Let me say, I loved her. I cared for her, but it wasn’t the same as I was not being true to myself.* I never fooled around or had one-night stands or anything like that. Call me old fashioned, but that is reserved for the person you love the most.
I fell into a deep depression. I had gone through years of self-loathing because I believed I was a deviant and unworthy of love and of happiness. I was paranoid that I would be found out and my life would be over. I started to not take care of myself. I gained weight… a lot of weight. I ended up being honorably discharged from the military because I exceeded the weight standards.
I went to college and spent the majority of my time there in the closet. I met another young man with who I fell in love. We had the same major and were in the band together. He became my roommate, and after living together for almost 2 years, I finally told him how I felt. It was like opening the floodgates… I spilled everything to him and it was quite a shock for him. Needless to say, he wasn’t interested and I was devastated. Neither of us handled that situation well and we still don’t talk to this day. It was horrible, but it was the best thing that has ever happened to me.
I was out. There was no turning back. I could run away, or face the consequences. That’s what I’ve been doing ever since. I told my family, and most of them are ok with it… Mom still thinks it’s a phase I’ll grow out of. Duh, hello…
It’s been 8 years. I still get nervous when people ask about my orientation. I was outed at work (that’s another story), but I am lucky to have a job that incorporates LBGT people into their diversity policy. I have a wonderful man in my life who loves me for who I am. We both work to provide a warm and loving home for our fur-child, Kitty, the female Miniature Schnauzer. Life for the most part is great! I still struggle with my weight, but I’m happy. I can’t wait for the courts to rule in favor of LGBT rights.
The road I’m on has not been easy. Sure, it’s made me a stronger person, but there are somethings on it that I hope young LGBT people never have to live through. That’s why I give a damn… so those that follow this road reach happiness much sooner!
I give a damn… do you?
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