I’ve never posted much about the “big gay journey” part of my life, but this Pride month it has been on my mind. So, I’m sharing what I thought about as I painted this Pride-inspired, colorful abstract today.
I knew that I was different somehow from a pretty early age. Those who say “don’t say gay” are wrong… I think I would have benefitted from knowing that gay people and gay parents and gay families even existed at an early age. It never came up in my conservative family and I had no idea what was going on with me through my childhood. There were no visible gay people around, nor role models in rural, conservative southern Missouri. By the time I figured things out on my own, I knew being gay must be very much hidden from the world. And loathed by myself.
After years of suppressing who I was, accepting the oppression I witnessed around me, thinking about ending my life (just a jerk of the wheel going 100mph on the autobahn), I finally accepted me as God made me. I was 27 when I finally came out, and then spent the next decade trying desperately to change the minds and hearts of my immediate family, while my parents pleaded with me to get “cured”. But, the resolve of my parents, and brother, and sister to continue rejecting me only solidified as the years progressed. I believe this kind of hate is taught, learned and still advocated by many. I still am in wonder that I made it through it all, but I did and my journey continues out the other end.
Now, my life is full. Full of my art, the love of my life and best friend Steve, many wonderful extended family members and a sense of peace. Yes, I’ve had to let go of much and have found forgiving my immediate family, especially my parents, is more of an ongoing process than a single decision point.
So yes, it does get better and yes, I’m proud. Proud of being the gay man God made me to be. So I paint these rainbow colors with lots of reflection and pride!