We're coming out!

By admin

Originally published on Advocate.com September 26 2005 12:00 AM ET

Kahu Donald Schmidt
Age: 46 Residence: Lahaina, Hawaii
Occupation: Minister

On coming
out: I have been openly gay for many years, but
recently I took another big step out. My husband and I
announced our Canadian marriage to our
congregation—and they clapped! I am a minister in the
United Church of Christ, and while the UCC is known
for being liberal, the Hawaiian churches are often
conservative. My congregation had come to know and
love me as their kahu (minister), but I wondered how they
would deal with this next piece of news. There have
been some rough spots, but for the most part they have
opened their hearts. I don’t want to be a poster
child for gay marriage, but just another minister trying to
do my best for my church and the community, with my
husband by my side.

David Snead
Age: 40 Residence: Washington,
D.C. Occupation: Internet attorney

On coming
out: I came out to the people I know on National
Coming Out Day last year. I get asked a lot why I did
it. It’s a fair question. Initially I had a
laundry list of external reasons: to allow my ex-wife to get
on with her life, to give my daughter a father who
isn’t constantly in pain, etc. But as the
one-year anniversary of being out comes up, I’ve come
to realize that I came out for me. I came out because
I needed to be true to who I am, and because being
“in” was contrary to everything good
I’d learned from my wife, parents, sibling,
in-laws, and daughter.

Laurie Bell

Age: 46
Residence: Toronto Occupation: Clinical
psychologist

On coming
out: My teenage son asked me recently what I did
to fight for freedom when I was young. I told him the
first queer experience I had was going down a dark
alley to an unmarked doorway leading to an underground
lesbian bar. Later I challenged my Catholic church,
and eventually left it to become a queer activist. Now
I am surrounded by the love of family and friends. You
don’t get from there to here without all of us
working for freedom. I pulled out his scrapbook and
showed him the leaflets and news articles of our
movement. My appearance in The Advocate is a welcome
addition to his scrapbook, so that when his child asks
him what he has done for freedom, he’ll know
where his own struggles are rooted.

Danyelle Thompson
Age: 26 Residence: Grand Rapids,
Mich. Occupation: Graduate assistant in housing
and residence life

On coming
out: I came out to my friends in college, but I
had not yet come out to my very Catholic parents when
I brought home a gay male friend for Thanksgiving a
few years ago. Afterward my mother asked me via AOL
Instant Messenger if my friend was interested in me. I
replied that he was not interested in women. She
replied, “Oh, you mean the way you are?”
I replied, “Yes,” and then immediately called
her. Yep, I came out to my mom on Instant Messenger.
We didn’t talk about it for about a year after
that, but now she is completely fine with it. I told my
older brother this past Thanksgiving, but have not yet
told my father. I know that coming out will be a
lifelong process, but with the support of my family
and friends, I know I will be fine.

Kyle Miller
Age: 30 Residence: Columbus, Ohio
Occupation: Teacher

On coming
out: I have been out to family and friends for a
few years now, but I don’t really consider
myself out. I am an elementary school teacher, and as far
as my students and colleagues have been concerned I am
single, even though my partner, Matt, and I have been
together for five years. I was single at the staff
holiday party. I was single at the school family
night. And I was single at the after-school happy hours. But
no more. Over the last year, I have come out to a
couple of my students’ parents and to one close
colleague. I came to see that they feel exactly as I
feel—that being gay is secondary. They primarily care
that I do the best job at educating and developing
their children.

Christina Lynn Ray
Age: 32 Residence: Port Chester,
N.Y. Occupation: Writer, artist, teacher

On coming
out: Being a Southern girl raised in the Bible
Belt, I felt the guilt I suppose a lot of lesbians
feel. I felt like I was a mistake, that God had
somehow made a flaw and I was it. My parents didn’t
talk to me for four months after I came out. They
still think that being a lesbian is a choice and that
I am going against the Bible. I still feel some guilt
over this. But I don’t think being a lesbian is a
choice. I think that God made all of us, and if we
were all the same, what would be the point of our
existence?