Lessons In Love: Two Years After “Coming Out”

Today is the second anniversary of embracing the truth that I am gay. It’s been a great (and tumultuous) two years. Almost everything is completely different. Old challenges produced new understandings and environment. New challenges are producing deepening authenticity and wholeness.

For the past two years, I have written about losing relationships, leaving the culturally driven church, developing new friendships, and taking my place in the LGBT+ community. I have written a bit about the maturation of my faith in Christ as well.

After the horrible Pulse tragedy (7 months ago today), watching our community here locally, and around the world, grapple with the horror and yet respond and rally with love …that tragedy became a catalyst and helped my passion and vision to become crystal clear.

What I haven’t written a lot about is how incredibly humbling, and deeply personal, this past year has been relationally. It has been over the past year I deeply grieved the loss of my first love, facing relational fears of intimacy I didn’t even know I had and being open to dating someone else. All of this, which is quite normal I know, revealed some profound consequences of living 23 years in the ex-gay world. 23 years of believing I was “called” to celibacy (that was only briefly challenged by dating women on a couple of occasions).

When I came back out, I brought a healthy worldview and coping skill set with me. At the same time, I also stripped away a wall of idealism that had shielded me from looking honestly at the core of who I am concerning intimacy and being able to trust another. Dating has exposed those fears, weaknesses, and anxieties in ways that I still don’t fully understand or know how to articulate.

So, on one level, I am more than ready and will be speaking out about ending conversion therapy and carefully confronting ingrained religious and cultural stigmatization. I am very clear and strong along the lines of advocating for LGBT+ equality, rights, and protecting the gains our community has made.

Yet, when it comes to love and dating, I am still struggling to find the words; to trust myself with another; to trust another. I’ve been dating a wonderful man named Dan for two months (to the day, so it’s a dating monthiversary too). I am glad he is being patient with me :).

Other stuff has happened as well. This past year I also went to my first “Gay Days” and my first Pride Parade ever (in Orlando where Dan hunted me down :)). I started volunteering with the local HRC Orlando/Central Florida and am about share my story with two filmmakers for their documentaries this month. Plus, I may be attending and/or speaking at a few events this year.

Very fun and exciting!

It feels like my desire to turn the past for good, to be an honest and whole person, is truly settling in. The personal growth continues to deepen and I am very grateful.

I love Christ, I love my LGBT+ family, and I love what is happening to and in my heart. There are still plenty of lessons in love to learn. I’m ready.

It’s very good to be free…