... and why I've been coming out of the closet for my entire life.
However, before entering into the arms of matrimony, I did drop a little hint of my past to my then fiancé, but I did it in a way that wasn't a true confession. It was more like a a little FYI about my past sexual exploration. Kind of a "coming out" of sorts. Yet still not a complete coming out.
Roll forward, 2001 and the big one! The actual "coming out" to my wife. My life flip-flopped and the journey of "coming out" reached a plateau, or so I thought.
I was out. Out to my wife, my kids in a way they could comprehend at 5- and 2-years-old, to my parents, my brother, friends and co-workers. "Okay, wipe our hands of that. This is how you come out and it's done!" Oh, no, no, no! Who was I kidding? You never stop coming out!
To say that I've kept track of how many people I've come out to would be an outright lie. However, as I think over my life since I said, "Frankly my dear, I'm gay," I would estimate I have probably come out to at least 900 people and that's just my Facebook friends. Then there are co-workers along the way, other parents at my daughters schools, neighbors, new friends, friends of friends, doctors, dentists ... the list goes on. My best guess would be, close to 5000 people know I'm gay!
You see, I'm like an open book. I don't hide that I'm gay, nor do I wear a rainbow flag on my head and shout it from the rooftops. I'm simply gay and if it comes up in conversation, I work it in or answer the questions. Never really thought of it as a big deal and don't usually try to make an issue of my sexuality. However, not to long ago, the queen of Hairspray caused me to really "come out."
On Oct. 17, 2012 I was invited to be the "Coming Out Expert" on The Ricki Lake Show, for a segment entitled "When Gay People Lead Straight Lives." Excited, thrilled, in awe, were just a few of the feelings I was experiencing. Nothing weird was going on, until I was brought onto the set and realized in less than one minute, I was about to "come out" on national TV.
Yes, the thought had drifted through my gray matter a couple of times leading up to this moment and pushed aside. Now it was real. Like Wylie Coyote running off the cliff — there I was — suspended in air, knowing there was no turning back. However, then the reality hit, this "coming out" was only in front of the 200 plus crew and audience members that were watching the taping. Whew!
Yet, there still was no turning back. The show would eventually air. And, air it did! Nov. 2, 2012 — the day that hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions, found out I was gay! However, the journey doesn't end there! Not only are bits and pieces of the show archived on the internet and in the vaults of filmdom, now, once again, Thurs. January 24th, the show will re-air and I'm once again "coming out!"
If someone were to ask me, "How do you come out?," this wouldn't be the way I would advise them. Yet there is wisdom that bursts forth when you have the chance to sit on the same couch as the person that made Tracy Turnblad, a household name. Keep reading ...