My Pride, My Way: A Gay Man's Coming Out Story

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LGBT Pride Month: gay pride
In honor of LGBT Pride Month, our expert reflects on his own journey to becoming gay and proud.

It took me 38 years to come out of the closet and stake my claim as a gay man — but today, I'm proud to be gay and you can't take that away from me.

I'm even more proud now that President Obama has declared June National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Month. I'm not saying this because he took a stand, but because he gets me. He gets that I'm not a second-class citizen anymore than my African-American brothers and sisters were, just a little over 50 years ago.

It has nothing to do with who I go to bed with at night. It's more spiritual than that. Pride is about truly getting yourself at your core, accepting yourself just as you are and not being afraid to let your unique self be a beacon of light to the world. In fact, my proclamation of pride has nothing to do with my view of gay rights and everything to do with human rights. In fact, there are times when my skin crawls because I do the activist thing and get accused of screwing up the world.

I've been out now going on 13 years. I've attended my share of Gay Pride events, but up until recently, I've never marched in a gay pride parade. Just a few weeks ago, I marched with my local Orange County PFLAG peeps in the Long Beach Gay Pride Parade. I didn't do this for recognition or praise, I did this simply for the experience of showing my pride and support of an organization I have come to love dearly. Less than one block into the parade, in a roped off section of the street were the "haters." Talk about making my skin crawl. Bullhorns in hand and placards vehemently condemning all of us to hell, these self-righteous individuals were shouting at the supportive parents in our group, telling them how their acceptance of their children was going to bring the downfall of humanity. Had I not been leading our group and carrying the banner, I would have joined my fellow PFLAG'ers as they walked right up to the these hypocrites, pushing back and showing their pride to be the families and friends of lesbians and gays. Boiling (not only because it was warm, but because my gander had gotten riled) I knew where I could go with this if I allowed myself to. Then I stopped, breathed in, and said to myself, "Only in ignorance is there fear." Keep reading...

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Rick Clemons

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Rick Clemons, The Gay Man's Life Coach & The Coming Out Coach

Rick is a straight-forward, compassionate, insightful, challenging, mentor, guide, and Certified Professional Coach who's been featured on The Ricki Lake Show, and is a highly sought after radio show personality, blogger, author, and faculty member of Sex Coach U. His loving, challenging, gentle, and inspiring approach ignites a fire in clients, helping them get through the darkest moments of life and come out the other side, kicking butt, and being authentically themselves.

Rick thrives, working with individuals, and those in their inner circle, as they embark on the journey out of the closet and beyond. He specializes in helping people build confidence, live their passion while loving their work, and live authentically. Authenticity isn't just a word he throws around lightly. It's the backbone of his practice and the manner in which he personnally strives to live each and every day of his own life.

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Location: Riverside, CA
Credentials: ACC, CPC
Specialties: LGBT Issues (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender), Men's Issues, Sexuality
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